Since the 1970s, Caitlyn Jenner’s claim to fame has been a big one. She’s one of the greatest athletes of all, actual time. In 1976, she won the gold medal at the Montreal Olympic Games in a decathlon. And in case you didn’t realize, that’s a huge deal. But now, there’s a change.org petition circulating that wants to take Jenner’s achievement away from her. The transphobic petition claims to congratulate Jenner, but they don’t think she deserves it because she’s always known that she’s a woman, including at the Olympics.
This sounds a lot like a pre-law student’s attempt at an argument. But like that student’s argument, this is rather flawed. To figure out the flaws, you have to look at the rules the Olympics has about sex and gender in the competitions. Three years ago, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) ruled that transgender competitors could compete against members of their chosen gender under a certain set of conditions: sex reassignment surgery, a legal change of sex in the athlete’s country of residence, and a minimum of two years of hormone therapy under the athlete’s belt. But what does this have to do with why Jenner should be allowed to keep her medal?
In 1976, Jenner wasn’t undergoing hormone therapy. She wasn’t yet in the process of transitioning. Even though she knew that she was a woman, she was competing in an accurate category at the time.
Here at The Hot Zone, we are proud of Jenner and wish her the best of luck in all that she does.