Sunday, June 30, 2013

Would A Transgender Person Be Welcome In Racing?

It's June, so that means it's Pride month all across the country.  More and more states have followed San Francisco's lead in holding an event for the LGBT community.  It's an uncomfortable topic for some, I know.  I'm sure people have strong opinions on the Gay Marriage issue.  I do too, but not here.  This is a racing blog, so I'll keep it relevant.  I guarantee you've seen gay and lesbian and bisexual people involved in racing, whether you knew it or not.  Not everybody is in your face about it.  Some just want to live and be happy and let others live and be happy.

But, that T in the LGBT is sometimes the red headed step child of the group.  The T is a community in itself.  There is that sexual orientation debate that links it with the others, but it's about gender identity first and foremost.  I've learned a lot on this issue and could write pages on the subject.  I don't generally attend Pride, but I have been to Trans March on several occasions.  It's an important and personal issue with me, and I guess the first time I was introduced to the hate that is out there was when Gwen Araujo was murdered.

Auto racing is about family, fun and competition.  The family aspect may have some people insisting a transgender person, whether male to female or female to male, doesn't belong.  The reality is that many families have a transgender person.  Some have fully accepted him or her and been there through the transition.  Others, not so much.  This has led to struggles and choices that I will not even mention here.  I don't judge though.  They say you have to do what you have to do sometimes.

But let's say that somebody who races or is involved in the sport begins to transition.  A race car driver, maybe even a known name.  They won many races.  They've struggled with this internally for years, and now they have come to terms with it.  Now, they begin to transition, and they are very serious about it.  It's about Gender Identity, not sex.  The man you knew is now the woman who wants to be a part of the sport she loved.  Would she be accepted, or would she be shunned?  It's a site to adjust to for sure.

Do you suppose she had all of those worries when she decided she had to be true to herself?  But, she is happier now because she did it.  She may paint her nails or wear makeup.  You may see her in a skirt and blouse.  Her appearance may change from hormones and surgeries, but she's still a person who loves the sport.  She gave years to it before and wants to come back.  Is she welcome, or is it better that she just stay away?

Suppose it's somebody you knew who may have played a part in things behind the scenes.  Even built up a reputation of being a positive influence.  Would all of that go out the window the minute you saw her in a dress?  Is appearance all that matters.  Is society's expectations of who that person should be all this is important?  Does all the work done before go out the window?

Suppose a person transitions at a younger age and gets into the sport.  A young lady wants to race.  In fact, she's so beautiful (I think passable is a judgmental word) that nobody knows when she comes out there.  All her documents say female.  Suppose she starts to make a splash in the sport and then her past is leaked that she was born a boy.  Is she welcome?  Should it even matter?

Don't mind me.  I was just thinking out loud.  In my mind, it's the person who matters, not the gender.  If they have something to offer the sport and are given the chance to be a part of it, that's all that should matter.  Besides, transgender people are the same as everybody else in that they have hopes and dreams and a lot of offer the world if given a chance.