A British transgender male tennis player named Zachary Brookes, who sought to compete at the 2019 Special Olympics in Dubai, revealed he was rejected because of his being trans, basically confirming an unofficial Special Olympics transgender ban, at least in Great Britain.
In a Jan. 29, 2018, video, Brookes admits he was afraid to publicly discuss his rejection for fear of criticism. Nevertheless, he says, “All I want is to stand up for myself and as a trans man and for being autistic.”
All my life I have been isolated in what I love doing because of being trapped in the wrong gender for 17 years since I started testosterone and recently I had top surgery, I wanted to be able to give back to the trans community and to this society for supporting me in my transition, journey, sport.
Since I found out on Wednesday about you rejecting me … it hurt me from inside and out…. I don’t understand why you thought my transition as a negative barrier of me representing and playing for my country and for my team…. We deserve better than this. If you guys from the Special Olympics organization are watching this, you is accountable for what you’ve done.
Great Britain basically has a Special Olympics transgender ban
Zachary Brookes shared his rejection letter (below) and said that Great Britain’s Special Olympics Committee gave seven different reasons for rejecting him, including fear of disqualification for his taking testosterone; Great Britain receiving criticism for having a trans athlete; and trans athletes risking arrest or murder as the host city Abu Dhabi criminalizes LGBTQ identities.
Brookea says, “They are also not allowing me to present myself in case they make accusations of me being presented as fake male to their system during the games. I am not allowed to be in a room with a group of lads on the team for health and safety reasons.”
Talented trans athletes deserve to compete on the world stage. Approximately 170 countries and 7,000 athletes are expected to compete in the Special Olympics 2019 World Summer Games.
Featured image by gilaxia via iStock
Read more stories by just signing up
or Download the App to read the latest stories