Sidelined: How roller derby pushes trans women out

Last fall, the WFTDA released what felt like a long overdue statement on gender, removing the hormonal requirement for transgender skaters. A lot of my friends were very excited about this. I was a little underwhelmed.

It’s not that I don’t like that particular gender statement (though I personally much prefer the MRDA non-discrimination policy because – humblebrag – I wrote it). A policy based on self-identification is essential. After all, for nearly any minimum standard of femininity you set, you could find a cis woman who doesn’t qualify.

Rather, I was underwhelmed because a change in policy does precious little for the transgender skaters I know – myself included.

Celebrate this International Women’s Day with Roller Derby

Celebrate this International Women’s Day with Roller Derby Photo credit: Danforth Johnson.

When we think about acknowledging and celebrating International Women’s Day in our sport, we might have a really specific and pre-determined idea of the people it ought to apply to. But it’s worth rethinking for so many reasons. 

Let’s be real, though, at the core of our passion is roller derby – its play, its range and its community.