I said last time that this week’s “comment” would concern trans at the Olympics. It hasn’t been an issue in the coverage I’ve seen except in connection with Caster Semenya, the South African athlete who was diagnosed as intersex some years ago but allowed to take part in the women’s events. Nevertheless there have been reports that there would be transgender competitors in the Rio games since the IOC revised the rules. The regulations on competitors’ gender are now roughly in line with the UK’s Gender Recognition Act i.e. a transgender athlete does not have to have undergone gender reassignment surgery, but must have lived in “role” for a couple of years. The most important factor is the sportsperson’s testosterone level. This applies to all competitors whether they are transgender, intersex or cisgender – their testosterone must be below a stated level in order to compete as a woman.
When you think about it, it is strange that the definition of gender has come down to the level of a particular hormone in the person’s blood. Chromosomes and genitals are no longer an issue. It’s more intriguing when that hormone, testosterone and its variants, is used by some drug cheats to perhaps enhance their performance. Some people say that transgendered people, particularly MtF, should not be allowed to compete because of the advantages gained by growing up with a male bone structure and musculature. In fact there are plenty of tests to show that a trans-woman who has undergone hormone treatment for a couple of years loses any advantage of her former male life.
It is all a bit of a mess, like a lot of Olympic regulation. The fact is that Olympians are pretty remarkable people, on the extremes of the ranges for fitness, strength, stamina, etc. depending on their event. It is probably pointless comparing an athlete, transgender or otherwise with an “average” human. What’s more there are enough other anomalies in the Olympics regarding gender. Why is there a women’s heptathlon and a men’s decathlon? Why do female gymnasts move to music in the floor event while men do not? Why did female divers have 5 rounds while men had 6 (or something like that)? My own sport of fencing seems to be one of the few where the rules and classes of competition are now the same for male or female.
The last question I have is: what about non-binary sportspeople? When can we be included?
Back to the fiction and the third episode of Perspective, the story about Jasmine Frame, transsexual detective that is a prequel to the novel, Painted Ladies. (You can find out how to get hold of Jasmine Frame stories on my Jasmine Frame publications page)
Perspective: Part 3
Jasmine didn’t have to think; she gave chase. The boy was already through the doors and heading across the car park. Jasmine sucked air into her lungs and pumped her legs. This was why she wore a loose short skirt over her thick tights and comfortable flat-soled boots. It wasn’t quite her running gear but she was confident that she had sufficient speed. She was gaining on the boy as he crossed the road beyond the police station, dodging cars and vans. She too traversed the traffic with barely a nod to irate drivers.
She caught the lad before he launched himself into the mêlée of the roundabout, bundling him to the ground in a semblance of a rugby tackle. He crumpled as if he was made of sticks rather than muscle and bone. Jasmine picked herself up and grabbed the boy by the neck of his hoodie.
‘Hey, whatya doin’. I ain’t done nuffin,’ he complained but made only a token effort to free himself.
‘Why did you run, then?’ Jasmine asked.
The boy ignored her question. ‘you bust my leg, you fuckin’ paedo.’
Jasmine began to haul him along the pavement, which took some effort as he dragged his right leg as if it was injured. They crossed the road back to the police station compound with a little more regard to the traffic, having waited for a gap in the stream of vehicles. Jasmine pushed him through the doors into the foyer. Her heart sank when she saw Denise Palmerston at the desk talking to GG.
‘What’s going on Frame?’ the DS said, frowning at the two of them. ‘Sergeant Gorman says this young man came in voluntarily with information.’
The boy stood sullenly rubbing his elbows.
‘Perhaps he did,’ Jasmine said not sure how to explain her actions,’ but I wanted to see him about something else and he ran away from me.’
Palmerston turned to Gorman. ‘Take the boy into the interview room please, Sergeant and see if he needs attention. DC Frame doesn’t seem to have been too gentle.’ The portly desk officer glowered at Jasmine as he left his post at the counter. ‘We’d better have words about this Frame,’ the DS continued.
Gorman emerged through the door and crooked his finger at the boy who slouched off with him. Jasmine and Palmerston followed but stopped at the door to the interview room.
‘Now, what this is all about, Frame,’ the senior officer said.
‘I think this boy and the one who’s been killed, attacked me last night,’ Jasmine said.
Palmerston’s dark eyebrows rose. ‘Tell me about it.’
Jasmine described the previous night’s incident.
The face of the DS darkened. ‘So you are saying that an hour or so after you had your purse stolen, one of your attackers was dying a few hundred metres away.’
‘How do you know that the youth we have here and the dead boy were the two that mugged you?’
‘I didn’t get a good look at their faces but they look to be the same build, and this kid recognised me. That’s why he ran away.’
A smile appeared on Palmerston’s face. ‘Oh, I see, he picked you out as a tranny.’
Jasmine flushed as she heard the term. She didn’t mind it in general terms; didn’t care if it was used as a term of abuse by kids who didn’t know better, but when her boss who was supposed to be accommodating her transition used it, she felt embarrassment and anger.
Through stiff lips she whispered. ‘Yes, that’s it.’
Palmerston looked smug. ‘What I don’t understand is why we don’t have this information. You did report the attack on you, didn’t you DC Frame?’
This was the question Jasmine had dreaded. ‘No, I didn’t.’
Palmerston feigned shock. ‘You, a police officer, decided not to report a robbery aggravated by a threat with a lethal weapon, an attack on a single woman.’ The final word had an emphasis, a sneer. ‘Why not?’
Jasmine sighed. ‘I was tired. It was cold and dark. They were kids and they’d only got a few quid from me.’
Palmerston snorted. ‘If we all had that attitude Frame and gave up policing when we felt a bit cold and tired, the criminals would be laughing.’
Jasmine knew that she was right and hated her for it. ‘I would have reported it this morning. I’d have tracked down the thieving toe-rags.’
‘Oh, you would, would you? The great investigator, Jasmine Frame, takes on the case of the thieving kids. Well, it’s all matter of perspective isn’t. You see a budding criminal while I see a victim on a slab with a knife wound through his heart.’
Jasmine didn’t reply. There was nothing to say.
Palmerston went on obviously enjoying Jasmine’s discomfort. ‘Well, we’d better see what this young citizen has to tell us about the incident since he has displayed public-spirit to volunteer the information. Come in with me but do not say a word. Got it?’
Jasmine nodded unhappily and followed the DS into the interview room. They sat down together facing the youth. His dark face had a look of hurt resignation. Slumped on the plastic chair he looked little more than a child.
Denise Palmerston took out her notebook and with her pen poised to write, addressed the boy. ‘Thanks for coming to see us this morning. May I have your name and address, please.’
The boy sniffed as if weighing up whether to answer, perhaps forgetting that he had initiated the interview. ‘Nate Gayle,’ he muttered along with an address on one of the less salubrious of Kintbridge’s estates. Jasmine wasn’t surprised.
‘Thank you, Nate,’ Denise said in her pleasantest voice; it came out somewhat forced to Jasmine’s ears. ‘Now, you told the desk officer that you had information about the incident in Riverside car park last night. Would you like to tell us all about it, please?’
Nate looked at Jasmine. His eyes glared at her. He pointed his finger at her.
‘He did it. He attacked us.’
Jasmine sat back at the force of his accusation. Palmerston didn’t move.
‘Now Nate, you can see that DC Frame is a woman.’
That brought a laugh. ‘Wot you mean? He’s a bloke. One of ‘em trannies.’
Jasmine wriggled in her seat trying to hold back the response she wanted to make.
Denise spoke softly. ‘You can’t say that, Nate. DC Frame is a transitioning transsexual. You must consider her to be a woman.’
Jasmine could barely believe her ears. Denise Palmerston defending her? She must be choking on her words.
Nate slouched in his chair. ‘Fucking perv. It was still ‘im wot jumped us.’
Palmerston took a breath. ‘Now Nate, I have a report from DC Frame that it was her that was attacked by you and your friend. Not in the Riverside car park but on the other side of the High Street. So let’s start again shall we.’
Gayle grumbled and sank even lower in his chair.
‘First of all, what is the name of the friend you were with?’
‘Proper name please.’
‘Good. Now after you left Dc Frame you went over to the Riverside car park.’ Gayle nodded. ‘What happened there?’
‘We weren’t doin’ nuffin.’
‘You were just hanging about?’
‘Yeh, by the loos.’
Nate looked from Palmerston to Jasmine and back again. ‘These two guys came along.’
‘Well, they looked like ‘er.’ He nodded at Jasmine.
Palmerston frowned. ‘What do you mean?’
‘They were trannies. They both had short skirts and high heels and big hair.’
‘Drag queens,’ Jasmine blurted. How could Gayle think that they looked like her?
‘That’s enough, Frame,’ Palmerston said giving her a look like daggers. She faced Gayle and frowned. ‘Where did they come from?’
‘Along Dock Lane, from the town centre?’
‘How did you know they were men dressed as women?’
Nate laughed. ‘Looking like they did? Tarts with dicks.’
Palmerston, shrugged. ‘It was dark. Real girls wear short skirts and high-heeled shoes.’
Gayle looked away. ‘They shouted at us.’
‘So their voices gave away that they were male?’
‘Yeh, like ‘im,’ Gayle nodded at Jasmine.
‘What did they say to you?’
‘Don’ remember.’ Nate’s eyes looked away from both officers.
‘Come on, Nate. You heard the voices, you recognised that they were male. You must remember some of the words.’
‘Me Ma said I must never use the word. It’s dis-crim-in-atory.’
‘That’s a long word, Nate, but you say it as if you’ve learned it. Do you know what it means?’
‘Yeh, course I do. Me Ma’s brung me up to know what being mixed race means. Wizzer too.’
‘Ah, so the words these, um, men, used were racial. Do you mean the, er, N word?’
‘Yeh, the fucking N word and others.’
Palmerston nodded. ‘I see Nate. So these men shouted out racial slurs and then . . .’
Palmerston’s eyes widened. ‘Two mean in miniskirts and wearing high heeled shoes attacked you and Smith?’
‘Yeh, that’s right.’
Jasmine examined Nate Gayle carefully throughout the exchange, looking for signs that he was lying. She was surprised to find that she couldn’t see any although she couldn’t believe for a minute that the two lads hadn’t attacked the queens. Gayle stared directly at the Detective Sergeant without blinking.
‘Did you fight back?’ Palmerston asked.
‘Yeh, course I did. They came in arms all over the place but they were bigger than Wizzer an’ me. One banged the side of me ‘ead. I got out of it and ran down the road.’
‘You ran away from the fight?’
Nate’s eyes dropped. He looked ashamed. ‘Yeh.’
‘What about your friend, Wizzer?’
Nate shook his head. ‘I don’t know. I thought he’d follow me, but I never saw ‘im again.’
…………….to be continued.