San Francisco's 'Bay to Breakers' run fails to acknowledge non-binary runners

Originally published at: San Francisco's 'Bay to Breakers' run fails to acknowledge non-binary runners | Boing Boing

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I can definitely see how this would be an unsatisfactory solution for non-binary folks. But, I’m going to ask an honest question from a position of ignorance:

Among the non-binary community, is there a generally-agreed-upon best practice for how professional sports should include non-binary folks? Is the answer to create a special non-binary category for competition, or what? That would probably work out fine for events with a large number of participants like this run, but I’m not sure what would happen with smaller events or team sports. Making more sports coed is one option but has its own complications.

As someone who doesn’t participate in and rarely even watches sports I have absolutely no personal stake in this and don’t have any suggested solutions myself. I’m just curious to hear what people are proposing.

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Maybe just get rid of gendered categorization?

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That’s definitely an option but it would also mean (for example) that no cisgender woman would have ever received an Olympic medal for a marathon, so some people would find that unsatisfactory.

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This is a drunken costume (or naked) FUN run across a city where the residents are begging people not to puke in their yards. I think it defies categorization.

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If competitive sports got rid of gendered categorization entirely it’s very likely we would never see another woman recognized as a world-class boxer or weightlifter.

I am sure that many athletic organizations have considered this question before but maybe the best solution for events like this would be something like awards for

  1. fastest runner overall
  2. fastest male-identifying runner
  3. fastest female-identifying runner
  4. fastest non-binary runner

Possibly with prizes and prestige proportional to the number of athletes competing in each category?

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Fair enough, but what’s the solution you suggest to the issue at hand? If you’re saying they should get rid of the awards entirely that’s fine, if you’re saying they should make awards gender neutral or add a new category for non-binary that’s fine too! I just want to know what’s being proposed here.

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I think they should not have winners and losers in a race where everyone is a loser? Its a fun run, to me this is like giving out awards every week at the Venice Lighted Bicycle Parade, who cares what gender anyone is riding a lit up bicycle in the dark?

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Women are better than men at Ultra-marathon and are tracking to surpass men in the standard-distance marathon in the next fifteen to twenty years.

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The bay to breakers race started as a serious athletic event and many competitors, including those who invariably win, still do treat it as such. Those are the people who should get recognition for their athletic achievements, not the folks who dress up in dinosaur costumes and pass out drunk along the route. (That is its own reward.)

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Granted that a lot of people do treat it as a joke, but this run has been ongoing for over a century and includes some pretty serious professional competitors from around the world. Saying “ok, it’s not a real race anymore and we’re no longer recognizing winners!” Is one answer and I respect that position. But it would be a significant change.

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This is strange to me, the 20 years I lived in the Bay area it was regarded by everyone as either a) a great time to get trashed or b) a bunch of annoying people getting trashed. Not even my competitive runner ex-wife showed any interest in it.

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Before gall bladder surgery and issues with blood sugar drop serious reduced my distance running endurance last year I had finally gotten up to a half-marathon distance and was starting to consider entering some actual events but my desire to not be around large groups of strangers really kept me away from that. I love virtual runs where I get the official race time and all that (if I want it) but without having to be around large groups, even outside of a pandemic. Even in a VR, I’m mostly competing against myself.

While the costumes and/or lack thereof sounds like an interesting addition, the part where people are getting drunk would keep me far, far away from this even if I had that rare occasion of feeling like being around strangers in a group.

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Charlie Mercer, the CEO of the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Capstone Event Group?

It’s easy, don’t give them the permit for the race. I’m here for everyday solutions to your problems, for a fee of course.

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I’m giving you an imaginary Coke because I started writing the same thing but thought “you know, I really should read the rest of the thread first before commenting”, and so now I don’t have to!

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A lot of people refer to Bay to Breakers as “Straight Pride” here in the City, which I find particularly insulting to Gay Pride. Our event is a parade and festival and celebration, whereas B2B is an excuse for people to behave badly in public. I think the “Pride” connection is that straight people don’t have (many) events—even in San Francisco—where they can get naked in public and be safe from prosecution, so B2Bs embracing of weird costumes and the occasional bouncing boob or dong in public results in the comparison.

As for whether or not non-binary or trans individuals should be recognized for their participation, I think that’s a no-brainer, especially here in SF. If we need to create new divisions for recognition, we absolutely should do that. And also, we probably should reject the right-wing event company’s “hosting” of this uniquely SF event. If there’s a trademark battle over the name, change it. Everyone will still call it Bay to Breakers, but we’ll no longer be lining the coffers of a Tr¨mp-donating, anti-inclusive organization.

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It would be great if the hosting company was local. But just FYI, the San Francisco Marathon, which is hosted by SF-based company Jumping Fences Inc., only offers “male” and “female” options when registering. So even if Capstone is a right-wing group their event is still more inclusive than the SF marathon.

The article in the SF gate did mention that marathons in NY and Philadelphia do have non-binary categories, and implied that having local groups host the races was the reason for that, but oddly didn’t mention the SF marathon at all.

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Ridden by little dudes in satin too.

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I’m sure people here know, but the implication is that even if women includes trans women, there is some biological notion of female that won’t. Because biology has some simple sex system where chromosomes and hormones and genitalia always match up. Which is of course not true and a cheap excuse for transphobia.

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i am a runner, and i approve this message :joy_cat:

( edited to add a necessary gif )

Luke Skywalker GIF by Star Wars

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