India holds first state trans sports competition and meet up
An Indian state is set to hold the country’s first ever meet-up for trans sports people, with competitors taking part in a variety of races and events.
Organised by the Kerala State Sports Council, it will be the first event for trans sports people at a state level in the country.
Speaking to The Times of India, event organiser Anil Arjunan said the government initiative was hoping to attract about 20 participants from each district. Events will include 100m and 220m sprints, shot put, long jump and relay.
Events will include 100m and 220m sprints, shot put, long jump and relay with competitors racing against those from both their own and other districts.
Participants will also get the chance to take part in a three-day warm up, with coaching available in different disciplines.
Shyama, a 25-year-old trans medical graduate who is also on the event’s organising committee, said the event will be a “revival of dreams” after shying away from sport at school.
“‘Why do you run like a woman?’ This was a common question encountered by many of us and the fear of mockery forces us to stay away from sports days in schools and colleges.
“Even though we have made our presence felt in the cultural space and showcased our talents like in mimicry, dance, mono act and so on, we were never given a platform to explore experience our skills in sports until now.”
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She added: “This event will be a revival of dreams for many, including me. The transgender sports meet will be an experience as well as an opportunity for everyone in the community.’
The event will be held at the Palayam Central Stadium in South India on April 28.
Trans inclusion in sports also received another boost earlier this year as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced they would be installing thousands of ‘universal use’ toilets.
The move was been widely welcomed, with many hoping it would set a new precendent for sporting events.
Maki Muraki, the head of LGBTI organisation Nijiiro Diversity, said: “Along with the effort to increase the number of public toilets, to raise people’s awareness that those who do not look like a typical man or woman can use a toilet as a matter of course is also important.”
It comes after a recent survey found some trans people would regularly skip eating and drinking to avoid using the bathroom.
The same survey also found that 73% of transgender youth had experienced mistreatment because of their gender identity.
Nearly half said they’d been physically attacked and 14% left a school because of how they were treated.