Lection Connection

May 15, 2022: Boundary Breaking

Fraser Macnaughton

 

The issue of transgender people and sport is one which has thrown up many challenges for those who wish to be as inclusive as possible. Over the years, there has been a seismic shift as boundaries were broken, with often sport leading the way in such areas as paralympic sports, and women’s participation in sports such as rugby, soccer, and cricket. Is it time, then, for more boundaries to be pushed and eventually broken with regard to the transgender community.

 

In sport, governing bodies have struggled to develop policies around fair competition and the possibility of unfair advantage being gained. Recently, in cycling, the double Olympic champion Katie Archibald has sharply criticized the transgender policies of the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies, saying they have not only let down female cyclists by underplaying biology but have left trans women, such as Emily Bridges, facing intense scrutiny. Archibald, who won the second of her cycling gold medals in Tokyo last year alongside Dame Laura Kenny in the Madison, said it was wrong for governing bodies to ignore the science that shows trans women who have gone through male puberty have a retained advantage in strength, stamina, and physique.

 

On the eve of the recent Nations Cup in Glasgow, Archibald issued a statement that said, “It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies. These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter. I, too, feel let down by these policies. I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex.”

 

However, she also expressed deep sympathy for Bridges, who broke the junior men’s 25-mile record before transitioning in 2020, saying she was only following the rules of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, before it decided to block her racing as a woman.

 

Explore… Acts 11:1–18

  • In what areas of life do you see steps being achieved in breaking boundaries?
  • In what ways might you see that policies of inclusion at all costs may be detrimental?
  • How do you think vegetarians or vegans might view the story of Peter’s dream?

 

Prayer…

May our eyes and our hearts always be open to new ways of seeing and feeling things. May we always be prepared to walk in another’s shoes, even for a while, to appreciate their world view, so that, together, boundaries of discrimination and prejudice might be cast away for good. Amen.

 

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