WFTDA Broadens Protections for Athlete Gender Identity

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is releasing a statement, endorsed by its member leagues, that creates broad discrimination protections within the organization for individuals who identify as transgender, intersex or gender expansive and definitively allows trans women, intersex women and gender expansive athletes to participate and compete within the WFTDA.

It states that the WFTDA “is committed to inclusive and anti-discrimination practices in relation to all transgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants, and aims to ensure that all skaters’, volunteers’, and employees’ rights are respected and protected.”

In regard to athlete participation, it states: “An individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, and/or gender expansive may skate with a WFTDA charter team if women’s flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify. … The gender identity of any and all WFTDA participants is considered confidential and private.”

In 2011 when the WFTDA first adopted a policy that was inclusive of many transgender athletes, it was the most progressive standard of any sport at that time. However, members of the athlete-run organization, along with society as a whole, have become more educated about gender identity in recent years. WFTDA members felt that the old policy, which included references to trans women athletes’ hormone levels, had the potential to exclude and discriminate, and therefore did not reflect the WFTDA’s values.

“The roller derby community has always been a space where people are allowed to just be themselves. Our members grew to feel that our 2011 policy did not accurately reflect our inclusive culture and our values,” WFTDA Secretary Michelle Donnelly (Eduskating Rita) said. “We also needed to thoughtfully develop new standards, respecting our identity and history as a women’s sport run by women. After a lot of thoughtful discussion, our members wholeheartedly embraced this new statement.”

The WFTDA will also update its bylaws to incorporate these values.

Full Statement:

Women’s Flat Track Derby Association — Statement About Gender

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is committed to inclusive and anti-discrimination practices in relation to all transgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants, and aims to ensure that all skaters’, volunteers’, and employees’ rights are respected and protected.

“Transgender” refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender (Reference).

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male (Reference).

Trans women and intersex women are individuals who self-identify as women.

“Gender-expansive” is an umbrella term used for individuals that broaden commonly held definitions of gender, including its expression, associated identities, and/or other perceived gender norms, in one or more aspects of their life. […] Some individuals do not identify with being either male or female; others identify as a blend of both, while still others identify with a gender, but express their gender in ways that differ from stereotypical presentations. (Reference).

The WFTDA recognizes that identifying as transgender, intersex, and/or gender expansive is not in any way related to an individual’s eligibility for participating as a volunteer or employee. An individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, and/or gender expansive may skate with a WFTDA charter team if women’s flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify.

The WFTDA will actively work to promote a climate that is welcoming and inclusive of transgender, intersex, and gender expansive participants. Any conduct which fosters a hostile environment for any participant on the basis of gender identity will not be tolerated. In addition, the WFTDA will continue to increase its knowledge of trans, intersex, and gender expansive issues through ongoing education for volunteers and staff. The gender identity of any and all WFTDA participants is considered confidential and private.