This Article explores transgender inclusion within adult recreational women’s leagues by using the example of the Mary Vazquez Women’s Softball League (MVWSL), in Northampton, Massachusetts. A MVWSL policy addressing transgender inclusion became necessary due to a noticeable increase in gender-identity diversity. The resultant policy respects the league’s core lesbian constituency by providing individuals with the freedom to acknowledge openly a gender identity that has or is evolving from lesbian to something else, and reflects the league’s founding feminist principles by refusing to define for others the suitability of a women’s community.
The Author demonstrates the successful creation of a policy based on internal principles and values rather than external ones, and defines inclusion and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. This application can be applied in other sporting contexts that separate players by sex to determine the values-driven process of defining who is eligible in each category or, when separation is necessary, to promote the objectives of the leagues, particularly when such a policy is absent from public law.
Erin E. Buzuvis, Challenging Gender in Single-Sex Spaces: Lessons from a Feminist Softball League, 80 L. & CONTEMP. PROBS. 155 (2017).