Looking at this from a three-pointer perspective, the basketball star Brittney Griner is at the receiving end of conspiracy theories. The traditional conforms of femininity have always been a hot debate. Anything that deviates from the spectrum becomes a question of gender identity.
The 32-year-old two-time Olympic medalist stands tall at 6 ft 9 in (2.06m), over 200 pounds in weight, with an arm span of 222 cm, and wears US men’s size-17 shoes. Her physical stature is not only ideal but highly sought-after for basketball, regardless of gender.
After her 10-month-long detainment in Russia for drug-related charges, Brittney speaks at the ‘Bring Your Family Home’ press conference at the FootPrint Centre, Arizona, on 27th April. Her sentimental responses to her release and gratitude can be heard in her voice.
And that’s exactly what netizens heard for the first time— her voice! The comment section blew up with myriads of opinions. Brittney’s deep baritone took center stage rather than the bigger issue of detained Americans overseas.
Thus begins the unofficial trials of misgendering Brittney Griner…
Did Brittney Griner Expose Herself as Transgender?
Brittney Yevette Griner, born on 18th October 1990 in Houston, was officially assigned female at birth.
She played for Baylor University in Waco, Texas, setting an all-time single-season record for being the greatest shot blocker in Women’s Basketball history. And by 2013, she was drafted into the WNBA as the first overall pick.
At no point in her career has she ever come out as transgender. And she always identifies by the She/Her pronouns. She was vocal about her sexual orientation soon after her debut when she married her fellow member Glory Johnson in 2015; after her divorce, she is now married to Cherelle Griner. In fact, Griner has always advocated for trans women to participate in women’s sports.
Her transparent life in public eyes should be enough evidence of her gender. Then why is she subjected to not just speculations but people calling her a “man,” as a matter of fact?
Gender Identity Policing in Women Sports
Trans visibility movement has brought forth the right exposure to their rights. The main purpose was to integrate them into society without prejudices.
As the movement gained traction, sports federations faced a huge dilemma of identifying the significance of gender and sex in competition.
The debate centers around biological vs. hormonal advantages for transgender women. Although both sides have compelling arguments, the verdict was in favor of the exclusion of transgender competitors– World Athletics bans transgender women from entering elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty.
Why Is the Exclusion of Transgender Women Harmful to All Women?
As per the Science.org report— there is not enough supporting evidence to claim that transgender women have an advantage over cis women. Athletes’ lab results on muscle mass and hemoglobin levels do not determine who would perform well in what area of sports.
A scientific consensus with eight women infers that they have no advantage over cisgender women as transitioning slows down their race time.
Testosterone levels are an important indicator since it increases muscle mass, hemoglobin levels, and strength. Excluding transgender women from elite competitions will hinder the studies further. The armchair experts will overpower the false narratives.
Why Is Misgendering Brittney Griner Highly Problematic?
The anti-trans side is adamant in proving that genetic makeup is the absolute marker of an athlete’s performance. Which implies that physiological appearance accounts for gender identification.
Such myths reinforce the right to invasive tests on athletes, especially women. Dutee Chand, Stella Walsh, Santhi Soundarajan, Caster Semenya, Ewa Klobukowska, and many more were banned from sports competitions on accounts of— being “not female enough.”
Brittney Griner, whose career is surmounted by greatest feats, is the latest target of the vicious assumptions. This will only further the external agency to control women in sports.
What do you think about Griner being suspected as trans? Do you think gender stereotypes have a place in this decade?
What do you think about trans inclusion in sports? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.