Tori Coyne
March 07, 2013 9:00 am

I was trolling the Internet recently (TMZ, naturally) and stumbled upon something that actually made me stop and think. A post-op transgendered woman (born male), named Fallon Fox, has recently won two fights against women in the Championship Fighting Alliance, a professional league of MMA fighters. Now, Fox wants to join the big leagues over at UFC, competing as a female fighter, obviously. But apparently that isn’t sitting too well with UFC or their supporters.

I don’t totally understand MMA or UFC, but I know there’s a lot of kicking and head butting and cages, and I think the only way to win a match is to make your opponent black out. (What I do know for sure is Ryan Gosling does MMA and have you seen those arms?) UFC is treading around the whole “Should a post-op transgendered woman be able to fight naturally born women?” question by saying Fox hasn’t proven herself enough as a fighter to earn the attention of UFC.

At the end of the post it reads: “Let her in the UFC? Yes? Or No?” And I thought: “DUH TMZ! Easy-peasy-lemmon-squeezy: YES!” Yet, for some odd reason, I questioned myself and thought, “Maybe it’s not that easy?” I mean, I suppose she was a man at some point…

Do not get me wrong: I believe in equality for transgendered people. I think you are whatever gender you identify as. So, why shouldn’t she be able to fight other girls? Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. So I was caught in this dilemma of: does her having been born a man give her some unfair advantage? All of a sudden, these ideas from when I was a kid came flooding into my head. I can remember having to run a mile for the Presidential Fitness Test in 6th grade. The girls had 8 minutes to finish it, but the boys had only 7. “Boys are faster,” my gym teacher told us. And I just believed him, probably nodded my head and went off running my slower mile.

And that ideal has kind of clouded my judgment for my whole life. It’s why for a long time I just accepted that no one wants to watch the WNBA or Women’s Professional Hockey. “They just aren’t fast, so the game is boring.” It’s why I don’t think any man should ever hit a woman. (To be clear: I don’t think anyone should be hitting anyone). And I realized, this one little headline on TMZ about a sport I’ve never even watched got me thinking about all these weird gender specific fitness ideals I think we’ve all lived with since before we can remember.

But then I thought of something else. High School Wrestling. I remember we had this one male wrestler who was smaller than most of the other male wrestlers and he used to wrestle girls because they fell into the same weight class. Of course there were those meathead losers laughing “Ha-ha you got beat by a girl!” But the sport considered it a fair-and-square match and that’s what mattered. Of all things to promote gender equality, I would never think High School Wrestling.

So why shouldn’t Fallon Fox be able to fight naturally-born women in UFC? Of course she would need to qualify first; earn her place in their coveted, caged ring. But, I don’t think being transgendered should hold her back. If the women she is fighting are fine with it, no one else should have a problem. So, let High School Wrestling teach us a lesson. I mean, how many other opportunities do you have to say that?

Featured Image via TMZ.com

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