USA Volleyball stands up for trans player despite ‘push back’

Joseph McCormick April 10, 2017
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USA Volleyball has hit back at criticism for allowing a trans woman to play in the women’s league.

According to reports the has been anonymous “push back” for the decision in January to let Tia Thompson play in the women’s league.

Thompson, 32, had been playing in the men’s division of USA Volleyball.

But after applying to USAV to play in the women’s league, Thompson in January got the news that she will be allowed to do so.

According to Hawaii News Now, there “has been some push back” from the volleyball community.

The report claims that the anonymous sources said it is “unfair for teams with biological women because it creates an unrealistic level of competition”.

But USA Volleyball has come out defending Thompson, saying the governing body supports her right to self-identify.

It begins saying the statement responds to “inaccurate reports in recent news media articles”.

“USA Volleyball supports the inclusion of transgender athletes in USA Volleyball events in the gender in which they self-identify, yet also prioritises a fair and competitive landscape,” the statement continues.

“As such, subject to applicable laws and regulations, all athletes over the age of 12 wishing to participate in the gender that differs from their birth gender are required to provide medical documentation to the USAV Gender Committee demonstrating that their testosterone levels do not exceed the upper limit of the normal reference range in their desired gender of play for their age group.

“The USA Volleyball transgender guidelines do not apply to athletes desiring to represent the United States in the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and all other international competitions which are under the control of the relevant governing body.”

“Many uneducated people do have negative comments, which I understand because of the lack of education and information that people see on trans issues,” Thompson told Outsports.

“It took me three years to finally get approved with all the transitioning and hormone therapy and submitting all my paperwork to the Gender Committee,” said Thompson to NBC earlier this year.

Trans players in the women’s league are required by USAV to be on hormones for at least a year and to legally change their gender.

The Haili Volleyball Tournament in Hawaii last month marked the first time Thompson played in the women’s league.

She made history as the first transgender athlete to play in the Haili tournament.

Thompson also has her heart set on competing in women’s volleyball at the 2020 Olympics.

“By me coming out and opening the doors, it will get more accepted,” Thompson said.

If Thompson makes it to the 2020 games, she will be pleased to find there will be transgender-friendly toilets there.

Last month a trans woman weightlifter was accused of an “unfair advantage” for being allowed to compete in women’s competitions.

Competitors accused Lauren Hubbard, of New Zealand, of the “advantage” after she won at the Australian International event.

Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs was also earlier this year given approval to compete in male competitions, but was told that he is now allowed to wrestle boys but only during the off-season.

More: tia thompson, US

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