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13 October 2015

Sports, Gender and Trans - Part 1: to 1945

Part 1: to 1945
Part 2: the Cold War
Part 3: recent developments

The first version of this three-part chronology was published in August 2012.   Since then I have become aware of many persons who were originally missed.   This is an expanded version.  As per my usual practice, additions are marked ++.

FSFI=Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale.
IOC= International Olympic Committee
IAAF= International Association of Athletics Federation

Given that most sports that we do today were originally created and codified by men and that traits such as strength and speed, which enable competitors to win, are often regarded as masculine, it is no surprise that a) some masculine women including intersex women take up sports b) successful female athletes are now and them accused of being males in disguise.  Furthermore, a handful of female prize winners in the 1930s, most noticeable Mark Weston and Zdenk Koubkov publicly became men.  This led to Avery Brundage, who would later be president of the IOC, demanding proof that women were women.  Because the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled, this did not start until 1948.

Note that Dora Ratjen and Stella Walasiewicz, who both competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, were not outed until 1957 and 1980 respectively, and thus were not considered in the early discussions.

Three strands interweave in the events recounted below: 
1) Misogyny.  First women were simply excluded, and then were accused of masculinity if they won, particularly if they did not try hard enough at the constructedness of femininity such as makeup and hair styling.
2) Intersex women were the collateral damage of sex testing.  Some did not know they were intersex until they failed a sex test.  In addition the understanding of intersexuality by sports executives was usually quite deficient.
3) Some early transsexuals such as Michael Dillon and Roberta Cowell were sportive.  As transsexuals became more common, some of them wished to continued their sporting activities, and they found themselves in a system that did not know how to deal with them.

The sex testing imposed an undignified experience on female athletes for 30 years, and has never revealed a single male trying to pass as female.  The intersex women who were caught by the testing were women, and by modern rules none of them should have been excluded.  Even 17-year-old Dora Ratjen, arguably the closest to being a fraud, was in fact intersex.  The fact that she later, like Mark Weston and Zdenk Koubkov who also had been raised as girls, felt that he should really be male, does not make his younger self a fraud.    A stronger case can be made re Francis Anderson, who was considered a fraud by the standards of her time.  From our perspective it appears that she was a trans woman.  Today we would require that she took estrogens for a minimum of one year before competing against women.  This of course was impossible in the 1890s.

Fraud in the sense of a male athlete pretending to be female to score a top medal always was highly improbable.  As James Rupert  writes: “at any given time, there are only a handful of men in the world who could beat the best women, and most of them would be so well known in the sport that their disappearance would be noted, as would the sudden appearance in the top ranks of a previously unknown female competitor.  As well, a substantial conspiracy would be required, as the poser would need special hygiene and medical accommodations.  Above all, most men do not make very convincing women, (especially when wearing the minimal garb often worn in track events) and the chances of finding one who does and who is also an elite athlete seem minute.“

No male athlete has ever been obliged to prove his sex, even in sports like long distance swimming where women have a biological advantage.
Competitor’s names given are the names they used at that time.  Most competitors mentioned are trans or intersex or both.  However some who were not are mentioned because they were pioneering women or gay men etc.  For clarity the latter are described as cis on first appearance - it is possible that some of the these were cross dreamers, and if so, apologies of course.

Stella Walasiewicz and Mildred Didrikson in Jersey City, New Jersey on June 25, 1931.

1000 BCE    Games for Greek women dedicated to Hera.
766 First Olympics dedicated to Zeus.  Held every 4 years.  For men only and performed in nude.  Married women barred, but prostitutes and virgins were allowed to spectate.  However could not take place unless a priestess of Demeter present.
440 Kallipateria, a female boxing coach, sneaks in in male guise to watch her son compete.  Resulted in a new rule that coaches also must be nude.
392 Kyniska, a Spartan woman, owned winning horse and chariot. Proclaimed victor but not allowed to attend.
14 CE Emperor Tiberius  turns the 4-yearly Augustine Games into an annual sporting event.
1st century Martial told of Philaenis, who can out-wrestle men and lift heavier weights .

Emperor Hadrian founds the Antinoeia Games in the city of Antinopolis and elsewhere dedicated to his lover Antinous, who had met an early death. 
Emperor Commodus  does chariot and horse racing and archery as well as performing as a gladiator.  He likes to dress as Hercules in drag.
218 Hierocles, a charioteer, becomes lover of trans Emperor Elagabalus.
393 Emperor Theodosius I  abolishes as pagan: Olympic Games, Hyakinthian Games, Panathenean Games.
13th century Ulrich of Lichtenstein  jousts in female clothing.
1612 Cotswold Olimpyc Games, first modern revival, held near Chipping Campden.
1720s Elizabeth Stokes, professional boxer.
Mary Welsh, professional sword fighter for prize money
1790s Ozaw-Wen-Dib, a Saulteaux Chippewa A-Go-Kwa shaman and two-spirit., is the best runner in the tribe.
1855 Lucy/Joseph Lobdell, who ever met only one man who was a better shot, transitions to male.
1859 1st revival games in Athens
1860s Jimmy De Forest, future fight trainer, is Mlle Petite De Forest, circus arielist.

Sándor Vay  noted for riding, hunting and fencing.
++Steve Hart,  jockey is declared the winner of The Benella Handicap after a protest was upheld.  He is said to be the only person to jump a horse over the Wangaratta railway gates. He is known for his preference for female attire.
++Steve Hart, dies, with several of the Kelly Gang, at the famous siege of Glenrowan.
++Joseph Lobdell, shooter, admitted to Willard Asylum where his masculinity is taken as evidence of insanity.
Frederick Taylor, efficiency engineer and female impersonator, is a winner in the first doubles tournament in the US National Tennis Championships.  He was also a cricketer.
1893 Calamity Jane/Martha Jane Burke, masculine woman,  shooter and horse rider at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
1890s Charles Winslow Hall  wins several shooting contests.
Frances Anderson, first female billiards champion.
1894 International Olympic Committee (IOC) is founded by Pierre de Coubertin.
1896 Athens Olympics

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the gay father of the modern Games says: “Olympics with women would be incorrect, unpractical, uninteresting and unaesthetic”. 
Zero women compete officially. Cis woman Stamati Revithi runs the men’s race by herself the next day.  The officials ignore her name and referr to her as Melpomene, the muse of tragedy.
++Toupie Lowther, masculine woman, at a widely publicised fencing competition and display held at The Military Gymnasium of the Army Camp in Aldershot, vanquished not only her lady opponents but also the army’s Sergeant instructor.
1900 Paris Olympics



976 men compete.
21 women compete in ballooning, croquet, golf, yachting, horse riding, tennis. 
Held at the same time as the Exposition Universelle, and some confusion as to which was which.
++Toupie Lowther wins British Covered Court Tennis Championship.
++Toupie Lowther wins German Tennis Championship
++Charles Winslow Hall dies mid-Atlantic returning to US with his wife and is found to be female bodied. 

++Toupie Lowther wins British Covered Court Tennis Championship, and, at a fencing display in Paris, billed as “The Lady Champions of England and France,” she opposed (and worsted) the famous Mme Gabriele before a crowded salon.
++Toupie Lowther wins Monte Carlo Tennis Championship and British Covered Court Tennis Championship, and, engaged and held her own as a fencer against the Maître, or Prof. Yvon at the Civil Engineers Hall in Paris.
1900s Sybil Mousey-Heysham, masculine woman, is declared to be one of the three finest duck shots in Britain.
1904 St Louis Olympics

Chicago had won the bid, but the Louisiana Purchase Exposition  threatens to eclipse with a bigger sporting event unless the Olympics are moved to St Louis.  As in Paris the Exposition and the Olympics were confused.
Co-incides with the Russo-Japanese War.
Only 12 nations and 52 athletes from outside the US.
6 women contest. Women’s boxing is featured as an exhibition sport.  Women’s archery.
Fewer than half of the events include athletes from outside the US.
Cis man George Eyser wins 6 medals even though he had a wooden leg.
++Toupie Lowther wins Homburg Tennis Cup.
1906 Interim Games - Athens

Danish women do a gymnastics demonstration.  Tennis is the only women's sport, and only Greek and French women take part.
Considered an official Olympics Games at the time, but later downgraded.
Unlike 1900, 1904, 1908 not overshadowed by an international exhibition.
++Toupie Lowther wins Cannes Tennis Championship and South of France Championship.
1908 Female bullfighters banned in Spain.  La Reverte claims that she is a man, and continues to fight.
1908 London Olympics Rome had won the bid, but after eruption of Vesuvius in 1906, funds are diverted to disaster relief.  Olympics are transferred to London to be alongside the Franco-British Exhibition.
1971 male competitors, 37 female.
1912 Stockholm Olympics


2406 male competitors, 47 female.
A 15-year British girl entered the pentathlon, but is rejected. Two swimming events and high board diving for women are included.
++Violette Morris, masculine woman, comes 5th in the 8 km French swimming contest – she was the only female competitor.
++Germany announces that 1916 Berlin Olympics will continue but only for its allies, and neutral countries such as USA.
1916 Berlin Olympics

As the Graet War was still raging, it was finally cancelled.
++Violette Morris sets the first French record in shot put.
++Toupie Lowther co-founds ambulance unit active on German-French front line.
++Violette Morris plays in the first official women's football match in France. In goal, she played with her head bare (as men did) rather than wearing the prescribed beret.
1919 14-year-old cis Lily Parr is recruited for a women’s football team at Preston, Lancashire.  Remained a star player until 1950, scoring over 900 goals.
++Violette Morris is admitted to the Fédération française de sports féminins (FFSF)
++Toupie Lowther and other members of her ambulance unit were awarded Croix de Guerre.
1920 Antwerp Olympics Budapest had been scheduled to host, but Hungary, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria & Turkey are barred from competing as part of sanctions after the Great War.
Soviet Union declines to participate.
2561 male competitors, 65 female.
1921. Fédération Sportive Féminine Internationale  (FSFI) is formed on 31st October as IOC continued to refuse women’s athletics in the main Olympics.
++Violette Morris participates in the first Women's World Games in Monte Carlo in 1921 establishing new records for shot-put and javelin.
1922 Paris Women's Olympic Games

Organised by the FSFI and attended by 5 nations. 
Mary Weston  and Zdenka Koubková  compete, as does Stella Walasiewicz, who is known as Stella Walsh when she competes in US.   
++Violette Morris sets records in athletics, and comes second in 1,000 m swimming, and won a cycling race.
++Violette Morris takes up motor racing, and, the only woman entered, comes 4th in the Bol d'Or.
1922 Deutsche Kampfspiele -Berlin
Being barred from the Olympics, Germany and it’s Great War allies put on an alternate games.  Repeated in 1926 and 1930.
++Violette Morris opens a car/motorbike accessories shop, Spécialités Violette Morris, at 6, rue Roger-Bacon,
1924 Paris Olympics 2954 male athletes, 135 female.
The IAAF refuses to add more women's events to the programme, except for fencing.
1925++Mary Weston  UK national champion in shot-put.
1926 Gothenburg Women's Olympic Games 9 nations attended: 100 participants After protests by the IAAF and IOC next Games  retitled the Women's World Games. 
++Mary Weston  6th in 2-handed shot-put.
1926. ++Joe Carstairs enters Duke of York’s trophy for speed boating.  After most competitors had fallen out, the Newg's propeller was caught by a submerged rope, but Joe managed to cut the rope, and completed the course to win the trophy.  won the Royal Motor Yacht Club International Race, the Daily Telegraph Cup, the Bestise Cup and the Lucina Cup. On Lake Windermere Joe set a world record of 54.97 mph for a 1½ litre class boat.
++Violette Morris indefinitely suspended from playing football.
++Toupie Lowther elected a member of the French Academie d'Armes. 
1927 Stella Walasiewicz wins a place on the US Olympic team, but is disqualified in that she is not a citizen, and could not become one until age 21.
Violette Morris, wins the Bol d’Or 24 hour car race.
++Violette Morris  suspended by the FFSF.
++Violette Morris practises boxing, sparring with Raoul Paoli (1887-1960), the Olympics athlete, boxer, rugby player.
1928 Frances Anderson, billiard champion, commits suicide, and is found to be male-bodied.
++Mary Weston  UK national champion in shot-put.
++Joe Carstairs competes in Harmsworth Cup for boating, but is thrown into the water and has a cracked rib.   He sets up his own boatyard in East Cowes.
++Toupie Lowther is main real-life influence behind FTM novel Well of Loneliness
In his book Atalanta or The Future of Sport, G.S. Sandilands, writes that women’s Olympics are "extremely immodest. Girls appeared in running shorts and revealed great lengths of unclad legs. Even naked thighs were displayed - and displayed as if they didn't matter. . . . There was one disconcerting aspect about these public revelations: prurient people (i.e., all of us) discovered yet again that a woman's legs are far less indecent than her underclothing.”
1928 Amsterdam Olympics

Germany is welcomed back.  German Athletics team leader is cis gay man , Otto Peltzer .
The IOC and the IAAF agree to include women’s athletic. However, they agree only to the inclusion of a limited number of events, and only as an experiment.  The FSFI does not find this satisfactory. 
2606 male athletes, 277 female.
Violette Morris, expected to be on French team but is rejected because of the way that she dressed.
++Violette Morris has top surgery, using the excuse of fitting into a racing car, and also sues the FFSF for reinstatement and 100,000 francs in damages.  However her case is dismissed.
++Joe Carstairs competes in Harmsworth Cup, but hits a log.
++Mary Weston UK national champion in javelin, discus and shot-put.
1930 Prague Women's World Games

17 countries. 
Stella Walasiewicz Gold in 60 metres,100 metres and 200 metres for Poland.  Is voted the most popular Polish athlete.
++Joe Carstairs competes in Harmsworth Cup for boating, sets an American speed record, but breaks down in the actual race.
1930s Bill Smith trains and rides winners in north Queensland horse racings.
Laura Dillon wins Sporting Blue for rowing at Oxford.
1931 ++Left-handed cis woman baseball picher, Jackie Mitchell, is recruited by Chattanooga Lookouts.  She strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  A few days later baseball commissioner bans women from playing as game "too strenuous".
1932 Lesbian tennis star Helen Jacobs first to play in shorts rather than a skirt.
Cis gay man, Gottfried von Cramm wins German tennis championships.
1932 Los Angeles Olympics 1206 male athletes, 126 female.
China participates for the first time.
Because of the depression many could not afford to attend.
Stella Walasiewicz for Poland, Gold 100m.
Mildred Didrikson, cis athlete, 2 golds  (hurdling and javelin) and 1 silver (high jump) for US.  Her appearance is masculine, and she is rumoured to be a  man.
1933 Gottfried von Cramm co-winner of mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
1934 Maurice Wilson, in gender-mixed clothing, dies becoming first European to climb Everest.
Gottfried von Cramm wins French Tennis Open.
++Elvire de Bruijn  Belgian, European and world cycling champion.
1934 London Women's World Games
19 nations: 200 competitors.
Stella Walasiewicz Gold in 800 metres for Poland.
Zdenka Koubková Gold in 800 metres, Bronze in Long Jump for Czechoslovakia. Her genitals are examined. She is stripped of her medals and banned.
1935 Robert Cowell drives in the London-Land’s-End trial run.
Otto Peltzer sentenced for homosexuality.
++Elvire de Bruijn  Belgian, European and world cycling champion.
1936 Mary Weston becomes Mark with surgery at Charing Cross Hospital by Lennox Broster.
Zdenek Koubkov has has an operation in Kiev with Milosh Kilcka, is declared a man and becomes a performer in New York.
Gottfried von Cramm wins second French Open.
++Elvire de Bruijn  Belgian, European and world cycling champion.
Avery Brundage, chairman of US Olympic Commission calls for female athletes to have their sex confirmed.  He is also against any boycott of the Berlin games, claiming that Jewish athletes were being fairly treated, and that there was a Jewish-Communist conspiracy to keep the US out of the Berlin Games.  He reassures his German hosts that he understands their position, as he is in a sporting club in Chicago that also bars Jews.
1936 Berlin Olympics Boycotted by Ireland because Northern Irish not permitted on their team. 
Boycotted by the Soviet Union.
Spain boycotted because of the policies of the Nazi German government.  Spain also organizes an alternate Peoples’ Olympiad  in Barcelona (which had come second in bidding for this Olympics).  6,000 athletes (more than go to Berlin) from 22 countries (not the Soviet Union, but including German and Italian exiles) arrive, but the day before the opening ceremony Franco’s fascists launch a military coup and the Civil War starts.  The Peoples’ Olympiad is cancelled, and many athletes join in the battles against the fascists.
The FSFI hands over full control of international women's athletics to the IAAF in return for the IAAF recognising all FSFI records, a complete programme of women's Olympic events, and the IAAF holding the fifth Women's World Games in Vienna in 1938. In the event, while the 1936 IAAF Congress agrees to recognise FSFI records, it otherwise only agreed to proposing a somewhat expanded programme of Olympic events to the IOC (the IOC refused) and holding a programme of women's events in the 1938 European Athletics Championships in place of the Women's World Games. The FSFI ceases operations without ever accepting or rejecting the IAAF's decisions.
3632 male athletes,  331 female.
1st torch relay from Athens to the host nation.
1st Olympics to be televised.
Filmed by Leni Riefenstahl.
Hitler wanted to exclude Jews and blacks, but other nations threatened a boycott.  The ‘No Jews’ signs in Berlin are removed for the duration. 
All Romanies are arrested and sent to a Concentration Camp.
Hauptmann Wolfgang Fürstner, commandant of the Olympic Village, is abruptly replaced at the end of June, awarded an Olympic Medal First Class, reclassified as Jewish and commits suicide.
Gretel Bergmann, cis woman and Germany’s best high-jumper is excluded because she is Jewish.   She is replaced by Dora Ratjen who comes fourth.
Stella Walasiewicz narrowly beaten by cis woman Helen Stephens, who is then obliged to submit to a genital inspection which she passes.
Otto Peltzer banned from competing.
Jesse Owens, a cis black US athlete wins 4 Golds and broke 2 Olympic records, to the irritation of the Nazis.
The only two Jews on the US team are pulled on the day of the competition.  Rumour says that Avery Brundage did not want Hitler to be embarrassed by a Jew winning in addition to Jesse Owens.
++Jesse Owens is obliged to use the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria, NY, to attend his own reception.   Unlike the other US Olympians, Owens is never invited to the White House.  He therefore campains for Negro votes for the Republican Party in the 1936 Presidential election. "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." 
++Violette Morris said to be a special guest, but did not compete.  This is not confirmed.
1937 ++Elvira de Bruijn,  again  Belgian, European and world cycling champion. Having heard about Zdenk Koubkov, de Brujin investigates and then becomes a man.
Otto Peltzer again sentenced for homosexuality.
Gottfried von Cramm has a phone call from Hitler just before 1937 Davis Cup, but doesn’t win.
Pierre de Coubertin dies.
1938 Mildred Didrikson competes in men’s Los Angeles Golf Open with a good score but misses the cut.  There she meets her husband.
Gottfried von Cramm sentenced for homosexuality.
1938 Vienna/ Paris European Championships Men’s events held in Paris, women’s in Vienna (by then part of Germany).
Stella Walasiewicz 2 Golds 2 Silvers. (see 1980 in Part II)
Dora Ratjen wins in the female high-jump, setting a world record.  However is later genitally examined by a police doctor, after being arrested at a railway station. Medal and permit to compete are rescinded, but on grounds of violating amateur status. (see 1957 in Part II)
1939 Robert Cowell drives in Antwerp Grand Prix.
Gottfried von Cramm is refused at Wimbeldon because he is a ‘convicted criminal’.  Also refused a visa for US Open.
1940 Tokyo Olympics Tokyo is stripped of the Games in 1938 because of the Second Sino-Japanese War.  The Games then go to Helsinki.  This in turn is suspended in September 1939 when European War breakes out.  The Stadium is used for the annual Finland-Sweden games, with Germany invited to participate.
1941 Otto Peltzer returns to Germany, and sent to Mauthausen concentration camp.
++María Torremadé breaks Spanish records in 100m, 200m and 800m, and in high jump.  Is discovered to have internal male organs.
1942 Gottfried von Cramm, after military service and winning an Iron Cross, is dismissed from the military because of his conviction.
++19-year-old María Torremadé, having won Spanish and European awards in basketball and athletics and high jump, has surgery and announces that he, Jordi, is a man.  He marries in 1952, and moves to Paris in 1959.
1940s Bill Smith trains and rides winners in north Queensland horse racings.
1944 Violette Morris is assassinated by French Resistance.
Robert Cowell crashes his airplane in Germany and sent to Stalag Luft 1.
++Richard Raskind, age 10, wins  Sunrise Club tennis championship for boys. He was also considered as a pitcher by a baseball scout.
1944 London Olympics Cancelled because of the war.
The IOC organized many events to celebrate its 50th anniversary at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
1945 Robert Cowell released from Stalag Luft 1.
Otto Peltzer released from Mauthausen concentration camp.
Mildred Didrikson playes 3 PGA (men’s golf) tournaments.  She is still the only woman to ever make the cut in a regular PGA.

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