New gender categories introduced with DCX 2023
A message from the Board of Directors of Steam Donkey Racing Club
We at Steam Donkey Racing believe that, regardless of who you are or how you self-identify, you should feel welcome wherever you go, and comfortable expressing your identity however you choose. We also know that, as a society, we’re not quite there yet.
That’s why, beginning in 2023, we will no longer offer competitors a choice of male and female gender categories at Frontrunners Fit Chiropractic Dodge City X. Instead, we will offer the following, more inclusive, gender categories:
Female: The Female category is for athletes who were born biologically female and continue to identify as such. This category will be divided into five-year age groups.
Open: The Open category welcomes all other competitors, including biological males, gender-reassigned females and all other gender expressions and identities under the rainbow. It will also be divided into five-year age groups.
Gender Non-Binary: This is a non-competitive category that is not broken down by age group for gender non-binary athletes who do not wish to compete in either of the other categories.
(Please note that, while a national champion will be named in the gender non-binary category, anyone wishing to qualify for the World Cross Triathlon Championship must choose either the Female or Open category and, at least for now, will be asked to compete as either a male or a female when competing for Canada’s Age Group National Team.)
Why have we made this change?
While we don’t expect to move mountains, we do hope that these revised categories will accomplish two goals:
- Ensure that every competitor has a place where they feel welcome and not excluded. No more round pegs in square holes.
- Preserve fairness within our Female category.
The preservation of fairness for biological females is an issue that’s increasingly coming to the forefront of sports organizations, such as the IOC, World Rugby, US Swimming and more. The specific question that’s being asked is, “Should gender-reassigned females compete alongside female-by-birth athletes?”
Ultimately, sporting organizations must balance two competing rights: the right of inclusivity, or allowing gender reassigned (and female-identifying) females to compete as females, and the right of fairness, or female-by-birth athletes not having to compete against athletes who may have gone through puberty as males. (Though the research behind this question is deep, controversial to some and well beyond the scope of this article, our opinion is that it does show that females who went through puberty as males do retain an athletic advantage over female-born competitors.)
In the case of Steam Donkey Racing Club, though we value inclusivity in all spheres of life, in the case of endurance sport we have chosen to prioritize the value of fairness, while also reclassifying our gender categories so as to not exclude any participant. We believe this is a balanced and fair approach, and that it is largely in line with the values of our athletes, volunteers, sponsors and other stakeholders.
How to choose a category
The gender categories represented in our registration system are unfortunately limited to those offered by our third-party registration provider. Thus, when you set up your account within that system, you will be asked to choose from “Female,” Male,” or “Unspecified.”
- Female-born athletes who identify as females should choose “Female”
- Male-born athletes who identify as males should choose “Male” (you will be placed in our Open category)
- All other athletes should choose the third option. Our race director will reach out to you to ask in which category you’d like to compete, i.e. Open or Gender Non-Binary.
We encourage your feedback!
If you have any questions or comments about this approach, please feel free to reply in the comments, or email our Executive Director directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.