Jock Talk: Powerlifting challenges gender binary

  • Thursday January 4, 2018
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A gender-neutral "Mx" category will debut this year in the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships to be held Saturday, July 28, in London.

The gender-neutral category is optional for all participants.

"We have seen a great deal of adverse reaction recently to media reports of transgender athletes competing in strength sports, particularly towards athletes who have qualified for multi-sports events such as the Commonwealth Games," said San Francisco's Ardel Thomas, non-binary representative for the LGBT Powerlifting Union. "We are aware of new and novice trans, non-binary and intersex lifters who are concerned about participating in sports because of a lack of understanding, and therefore we have decided to offer an optional Mx category at LGBT IPC 2018."

Chris Morgan, the male co-president of the powerlifting union, said the organization this year aims to reach out to the new LGBT powerlifting clubs emerging around the world.

"We aim to be as inclusive as possible by equalizing all weight classes and offering the new third gender Mx category," he said.

[In many individual sports, men do not compete in the same weight classes that women have. In freestyle wrestling, for example, the men have more weight classes than women and the range of weight classes is heavier than the women's weight. This sends a negative message that women should not be too big or too small but instead all squeeze into a very absurd and narrow band of body types. The Gay Games offers women the same weight categories it offers men. The expanded weight classes in the powerlifting championships mirror that policy. Way to go!]

Powerlifting, by the way, has been part of every Gay Games since the inaugural event in 1982, but was omitted from this year's Gay Games. The sport returns to the Gay Games in 2022 when the event is held in Hong Kong.

For more information on the union and the LGBT championships, visit

Gay Games update

With marketing pushes having just launched or still to come for a number of sports, organizers of the 2018 Gay Games X in Paris said 5,901 athletes had registered for the August 4-12 event by the close of early registration on December 31. They expect another 6,000-9,000 athletes will register this year.

Base registration fees for the next 3,000 participants before April 30 will be 185 Euros ($223.18). If 3,000 more register before April 30, the fee will automatically kick up to 205 Euros ($247.31).

Registration for golf, which has 180 participants, and for tennis (500) is now closed. Organizers said they had expanded the number of available slots for road races, martial arts and rowing because of market demand.

The biggest sports so far are road races (with 780 in the 5- and 19-kilometer races and 560 in the marathon), swimming (663) and tennis. Water polo already has 383 players and 36 teams registered - more than any previous Gay Games. There are already 62 wrestlers registered - twice the number either of the last two Gay Games had.

Manuel Picaud, co-president of the Paris Gay Games, said marketing was about to launch for rugby sevens, and roller derby teams are in the midst of fundraising before they register.

"We are still confident in getting over 12,000 participants and a maximum of 15,000," Picaud, the former treasurer of the Federation of Gay Games, said. "Our budget is based on 12,000 participants."

That would make Paris the biggest Gay Games since 1994-2006, a run in which Gay Games in New York City, Amsterdam, Sydney and Chicago each drew more than 10,000 participants.

The Gay Games have 1,195 hometown Parisians registered - more than twice the number that attended the Gay Games the last time they were in Europe. The United States has 2,033 registrants, followed by France (with 1,389), Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland and China.

Picaud said 1,601 women have registered.

For more about Gay Games X and registration information, visit For information about the FGG, visit