Amidst the many controversies that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) governing body dealt with leading up to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, one that has not garnered as much attention is governing the bodies of transgender athletes. For the first time in Olympic history the IOC has ruled to allow trans-athletes to complete according to their chosen gender. Two trans-athletes have chosen to compete anonymously (gender anonymous) while U.S. athlete Chris Mosier will compete as a man, his gender choice.
In recognition of Chris Mosier’s courage to proclaim his gender as part of his athletic status Nike features him in an Ad entitled: “Unlimited Courage.”
Chris chose to proclaim his gender choice because he wants to be visible, “so people can know me or at least, know of me and that I exist. It’s a very different experience when you put the person before the pronoun.” Chris will compete in the duathlon—the biking and running that comprise 2/3 of a triathlon.
To put this in full perspective of why many would (and have) protested against trans-athletes, imagine Bruce Jenner undergoing his gender change to Caitlyn the year following his gold medal in the Olympic decathlon and petitioning to compete in the following Olympics as a female decathlete?
Of course, athletes and others will bring up the potential unfairness, in their view, of a gender choice athlete switching to compete as the “other” gender. What is a deeper issue is the discomfort athletes and others feel about gender issues and in particular about gender fluidity; a need on their part to not consider the fluidity and du-ality of gender in each of us.
The IOC acceptance of gender choice—that a person can choose gender based on their own conviction of who they experience themselves to be—is a step forward against other governing bodies from government to institutional religion. The Pope himself recently condemned the notion of gender choice as a sin against God’s intelligence as the creator.
The Kabbalah, in its way, contributes to our understanding that body gender is a mask and that what is essence is beyond the “clothing” of the flesh (anatomical or hormonal). The Kabbalah also pointed out centuries ago through its’ description of the Tree of Life (and based on the Genesis creation story of male-female) that masculinity and femininity are qualities in both genders. These perspectives help support gender choice and putting the person before, after and in-between the pronoun.
by Melanie Gruenwald A Primer on Holding Opposites Today we concluded our Kabbalah of Mitch Albom class with a teaching he shares in both The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven and The Next