Fallon Fox: This Transgender Fighter's Fellow Athletes Have Her Back — Do You?
A new online campaign started by the LGBT athlete network GO! Athletes called "Fighting 4 Fallon" is challenging its participants to educate the world about trans issues in the name of mixed martial-arts fighter Fallon Fox. By respectfully responding to negative comments, correcting those who use male pronouns to refer to Fox, and relaying information about trans people to peers, the campaign hopes to garner more support for Fox leading up to her next fight on August 1.
After Fox came out as transgender in March, she faced severe backlash from fellow fighters, fans, and the state of Florida, which was concerned the MMA license she needed to participate in a fight in Coral Gables in May was obtained fraudulently. Even though she underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2006, and has been taking hormones since then that actually leave her with less testosterone than her fellow female fighters, many are still unwilling to let her compete.
"I'm technically, legally, physically and mentally female," Fox said at the time. "Everything about me is female. I happen to fall into the transgender category, but I'd rather describe myself as a woman first, transsexual woman second."
GO! Athletes is encouraging supporters of the campaign to use the hashtags #Fight4Fallon and #FallonsFighters on social networking websites in order to gain momentum. It's going pretty well so far:
The stigma against trans people, whether athletes or not, is absolutely revolting. A shocking 41% of transgender people in the United States have attempted suicide, while 19% have been refused medical care as a result of their gender nonconforming status and 2% have been violently assaulted in a doctor's office. Additionally, the murder rate of LGBT people has been steadily rising, especially among trans women and people of color. Fox herself even experienced depression after she came out.
In supporting this campaign, I have just one more thing to say, something that is glaringly obvious yet condemned by so many:
Fallon Fox is a woman, and thus competes in women's sports. Competing in men's sports would be considered illegal, since she is legally female. She uses the pronouns "she" and "her," not "he" and "his." And in her battle for acceptance, she has earned your respect.