The Boston marathon, as well as other well-known races, will allow transgender athletes to register to run as the gender with which they identity.
The issue of transgender individuals registering for and competing in sporting competitions not as their biological gender has been a controversial issue for some time; and when it comes to the Boston Marathon--one of the most prestigious and difficult-to-qualify-for races in the world, the stakes are even higher.
ABC News reports that, in 1967, a Boston Marathon official nearly dragged a woman off the course after she attempted to enter what was at the time a men’s-only race. Today, however, views on who can enter the Boston Marathon are quite different, at least as far as gender is concerned.
Boston Marathon officials say they will honor whatever gender an individual puts on their registration form.
"We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be," said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race. "Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we'd rather not add to that burden."
Organizers of other races such as the Chicago, New York City, London, and Los Angeles marathons say they will take a similar approach.
Controversy regarding the fairness of competition especially abounds regarding transgender individuals who are biologically male but identify as female and will enter the race as female.
One prerequisite that many sporting competitions have set up in these situations is that transgender women must have reduced their testosterone levels by a certain amount in order to be approved to compete with biological women.
Some doctors say that, with lowered testosterone levels, transgender individuals do not have any physical advantage.
Stevie Romer, a biologically male individual who identifies as female and will compete in the Boston Marathon as a woman, stated: "To be able to experience it as me was really, really important. I've been a runner since as long as I can remember. I love running, but I just happen to be transgender."
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/LemonTreeImages
Publication date: April 9, 2018