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Trans Athlete Doesn’t Make U.S. Olympic Track & Field, But Still Golden

Yesterday, 28-year-old Keelin Godsey failed to qualify for the London Games in the women’s hammer throw competition. But as a highly visible trans athlete who’s helped raise awareness and spur the creation of trans-inclusive policies, he’s accomplished more than most Olympians.

Godsey, who was born Kelly, came out as a trans man in 2005. But because of his Olympic dream, he’s postponed any medical procedures, meaning he competes with women even though he identifies as a man.

At Nike headquarters in Oregon, where the three members of the U.S.’ female hammer-toss team were chosen on Thursday, Godsey finished fifth, still reaching a personal best of 231 feet, 3 inches.

Erica Rand, a gender studies professor at Bates University and something of a mentor to Keelin, tells The New York Times that when he came out at school, “we did not yet have a policy in place to support trans inclusion. So whatever happens at the trials, he has already been a part of history.”

And even with yesterday’s disappointment, Godsey is still the first openly transgender athlete to seriously compete for a slot at the  Olympics. (It was only 2004, after all, that the International Olympic Committee ruled trans athletes could compete.) “I’ve still done more than most people that are trans have,” he said. “I’ve still competed at a level that most people haven’t. I don’t want to let not making a team be what brings that down.”

Photo: GLSEN

On:           Jun 22, 2012
Tagged: , , ,
    • EdWoody

      Surely this is trying to have it both ways. You can’t say are really a man but that you want to compete in the women’s competition. And you can’t claim you’re still a woman really when you’ve spent years making yourself into a man.

      At least the story doesn’t claim anti-trans prejudice is to blame, so there’s that at least. But the athlete himself is being disingenuous – if you’re a man, compete in the men’s games against other men.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 8:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon

      @EdWoody: Biologically she’s a woman. It says she has postponed medical procedures so he can fairly compete in that category. If Godsey competed in the med devision he would be at a disadvantage.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 8:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Max

      I think eventually divisions may be split by body type and estrogen/testosterone levels rather than gender identity. I also think I’m okay with that.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kamuurie

      If the subject considers themselves a man, they should compete with men, period. It’s shady opportunism, otherwise.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anthony

      @Kamuurie: @EdWoody:

      I agree with both of you. It’s unfortunate from Godsey’s POV that the division and his current scenario might prevent him from pursuing his dream, but God gave you lemons in that you can’t change the gender split of the Olympics -at least for this year. If it wee me I’d like to think I would have bowed out gracefully instead of being an oppurtunist.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marc

      I seem to think he might not be the first trans athlete to try to compete at the games. I seem to recall a Canadian trans female cyclist try for it.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Danny

      Another bizarre “trans” story that has nothing whatsoever to do with gay people. It is insulting that Queerty continues to push this nonsense in the vain hope that gay/lesbian people will come to see themselves as being at war with their own genders.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SteveC

      And this is news because…?

      Jun 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aiden

      @Danny: You don’t have to read the stories. And it isn’t unfair for him to compete with the women. You guys are a bunch of privileged assholes. He hasn’t started on hormones yet, so it wouldn’t be unfair for him to compete with women.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clockwork

      This was probably the only chance that Keelin Godsey will have for an Olympics.

      No way a woman who goes through a female adolescence can compete in a strength sport against men. All the testosterone in the world will not make Keelin’s body competitive.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • I won't grow up

      This just gives me a headache.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Suze

      Trans activists: “We must be treated as men when it is to our advantage and we must be treated as women when it is to our advantage. Anyone who objects is a transphobe. And it is the job of the gays and lesbians to make our needs and our demands their top priority. If they object, they are transphobes.”

      Can LGBs please just join with straight people to tell trans activists to STFU?

      Jun 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clockwork

      >Can LGBs please just join with straight people to tell trans activists to STFU?

      I’m trans -> please keep in mind trans-activists only speak for themselves

      Trust me I find most trans-activists as annoying as you do.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • w.e.

      i don’t get it.

      Jun 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eli

      Thank you Queerty for not caving to the nonsensical transphobia of some of your comment posters – it’s much appreciated.

      Also, my heavens he’s cute.

      Good for him for reaching a new personal best even though he didn’t quite make the team.

      Best of luck to Keelin in the future!

      Jun 23, 2012 at 2:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mba dissertation

      And it isn’t unfair for him to compete with the women. You guys are a bunch of privileged assholes. He hasn’t started on hormones yet, so it wouldn’t be unfair for him to compete with women.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 6:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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