Reactions to Caitlyn Jenner’s big reveal have run the gamut, but did many people expect this?
On Monday, a petition appeared on change.org asking the International Olympic Committee to revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s Olympic gold medal. The petition, which was started by Jennifer Bradford of Fort Worth, Texas, reads in part:
“We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men’s sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her olympic records in light of this, as we must now either claim that Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people (which we know is not true), or that Bruce Jenner was, in fact, a woman participating in a men’s event.”
As of Wednesday night, the petition to revoke Caitlyn Jenner‘s medal had received 5,610 signatures.
Competing as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn won a gold medal in the men’s decathlon event at the 1976 Olympic Games. The decathlon is a track and field event made up of 10 different events which include running, throwing, and jumping. The winner of the Olympic decathlon is often called the “best athlete in the world.”
The International Olympic Committee has long struggled to deal with how transgendered athletes are allowed to compete. In 2012, the organization opted to allow transgender athletes to compete with their chosen gender, provided that the athletes meet three conditions. According to TV Guide, those conditions include gender reassignment surgery, legal recognition of his or her gender in the athlete’s home country, and at least two years of hormone treatment therapy.
Whether the change.org petition was written seriously or a bit tongue-in-cheek is unclear. Bradford goes on to write:
“It is only fair to all involved that women receive their credit as champions of the Decathalon and that the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself. …We urge Ms. Jenner to support the transgender community by giving up the medals earned by competing against the wrong gender.”
Today, women do not compete in the decathlon event at the Olympic Games and instead compete in the shorter seven-event heptathlon event, and in 1976, the five-event pentathlon was contested.
Regardless of whether the Caitlyn Jenner petition is serious or not, TV Guide writer Shelli Weinstein says the petition is irrelevant.
“While Jenner said she has always known she was a woman, at the 1976 Games she was not taking hormone therapy which would have put her at a disadvantage against male competitors, as such therapy is designed to suppress testosterone.”
What do you think? Should Caitlyn Jenner give up her Olympic gold medal since she says she’s always identified as a woman?
[Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images]