June 26, 2022

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Transgender archer banned from Texas women’s competitions

3 min read

A transgender archer has been banned from competing alongside women in Texas after winning a state championship earlier this year. KellyJeanne Pyne, a disabled Army veteran, won the senior women’s freestyle event by a single point during the Texas Field Archery Association’s Indoor State Tournament on Feb. 26.

However, that victory was enough for three fellow female archers to submit protests against the results, objecting to Pyne, a transgender woman, competing in the women’s events, according to Will DuPree of KXAN News. A TFAA protest committee spent three weeks looking into the complaints before informing the athlete on April 5 that she was ineligible to receive the titles of TFAA Senior Female Freestyle Shooter of the Year and State Champion, DuPree reported.

“It felt like I had achieved something, and then that was rapidly taken away,” Pyne told KXAN. 


The TFAA also ruled that transgender archers could no longer participate in women’s events, but could still compete for men’s titles. The decision read that the committee “fears that in 20 years, all female records, in all sports may be held by transgender people, and no female records will be held by biological women. How is that fair to women?”

Pyne, who says she never received official challenges to previous wins, told KXAN that she holds no innate physical advantage when it comes to the sport. “The aim comes from your mental game: can you sit there and focus on that pin or on that dot and keep it in the center until the shot breaks?” she told KXAN. “That’s your mental game. It really comes down to a mental game and practice.”

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Guidelines from the International Olympic Committee state that “athletes should not be deemed to have an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status.” However, the committee argues that this contradicts another section in the guidance that says states sports organizations can make their own rules about who can participate, DuPree reports.

The TFAA also said Texas competition records show “men setting higher records in nearly every division and style of archery,” contending that a “level playing field” wouldn’t be possible if Pyne was allowed to compete as a female, according to KXAN. 

The committee also cited a Texas law that prohibits transgender student-athletes from joining sports teams aligned with their gender identity, DuPree reports. “Even though the TFAA State Indoor Championship is not covered by that law,” the committee’s decision read, “the TFAA Protest Committee would apply the Texas law policy in this decision.”

Pyne told KXAN that she would like to work with USA Archery, the national governing body for Olympic archery, to develop a policy to support transgender athletes. She also plans to enter men’s competitions in the state.

“If everybody wants me to shoot as a male, OK, now you’re gonna have a woman beating you because I’m a woman,” Pyne said. “However you want to look at it, I’m a woman, and I’m going to beat you.”



 

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