Transgender is the new gay. Just as the public has long been asking about what it means to be gay — “Can they marry?” “Can they adopt kids?” — we are starting to settle down on those questions, and are now facing transgender questions — “Can a woman born a man compete in a beauty pageant?” “Can a six year old boy really be a transgender girl?” and the latest: “Can a transgender woman fight against other women in MMA competitions?”
Fallon Fox was born a man, but after gender reassignment surgery in 2006, at the age of thirty, she began considering herself as a woman. Her state issued driver’s license also refers to her as “female.” But as far as competing in MMA for the Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA), should she be licensed as a woman, or is her body still sufficiently male to give her an unfair advantage?
She is currently 2 for 0, and in her last fight she defeated Ericka Newsome in 39 seconds with a knee to her head, as TMZ reported.
Florida State Boxing officials are reviewing Fox’s license to decide if she is properly licensed to fight other women. But as far as the Champion Fighting Alliance (CFA) founder and CEO Jorge De La Noval, she is clearly a woman.
“As a promoter, obviously everyone who comes into my office, what I see is a fighter. I don’t ask anyone what their sexual preference is. What they do with their personal life isn’t my business. She’s a sweet girl. … And where we stand as a company is that she’s a female. She has an Illinois driver’s license (as a female). She’s a female and she’s definitely a fighter. I just don’t see how anybody can revoke her license.”
It might not be as clear as that, however, for such decisions will be asked at every level of competition, including possibly the Olympics. How much surgery and hormones must a man receive to be officially a woman in competitions? It’s a tricky question, one of many tricky questions the transgender status forces us to answer.