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The transgender competitor

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Title:
The transgender competitor
Alternate title:
Debate community practices
Creator:
Sanburg, Savannah Sheree ( author )
Language:
English
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1 electronic file (133 pages) : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Transgender youth ( lcsh )
Forensics (Public speaking) ( lcsh )
Debates and debating ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Review:
The politics surrounding sexual orientation within the forensics community reinforces a binary that compromises fairness. In recognizing the differences in gender performance and the social construction of sexual orientation in the forensics community, the realm of debate and competitive sportsmanship finds an unacknowledged and unheard voice. From this process, we can begin to understand the needs of students who identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. There is a lacuna in scholarship on transgender debate competitors that my research aims to fill. This thesis consists of a critical analysis of gender via theory. This will allow me to contextualize the empirical data of the following: a qualitative survey of (1) High School and Collegiate Speech and Debate students in the Colorado Region and (2) a qualitative survey of Judges and Coaches from the High School and College Speech and Debate Association in the Rocky Mountain Region. Judges privilege traditional notions of heteronormative masculinity, potentially ranking competitors differently and increasing the risk factor for transgender competitors to lose a round, hindering their ability to compete long term, thus having the effect of alienating them from the forensics community. ( , )
Review:
This thesis challenges heteronormative gender performativity and addresses how the forensics community fails to address transphobia. Through the practice of autoethnography, I will explain how my own experiences have been influenced by my involvement in the forensics community prior to and after my transition. As both a competitor and judge, I am familiar with the cultural differences that are noticeable in a forensics competition. Thus, debate community practices and procedures are performed by competitors that are discouraged from expressing their authentic gender identity in favour of a more heteronormative, cis-centric inauthentic self so that they may survive in the forensic community.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.H.S.Sc) - University of Colorado Denver.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Savannah Sheree Sanburg.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
946447182 ( OCLC )
ocn946447182
Classification:
LD1193.L582 2015m S36 ( lcc )

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Full Text
THE TRANSGENDER COMPETITOR:
DEBATE COMMUNITY PRACTICES
By
SAVANNAH SHEREE SANBURG
B.A., Metropolitan State University of Denver, 2013
B.S., Colorado State University, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School
of the University of Colorado in
fulfillment of the requirements of the
Masters of Humanities and Social Sciences
2015


This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree
by Savannah Sheree Sanburg
has been approved for the
Humanities and Social Sciences Program
by
Omar Swartz, Chair
Sarah Fields
Marty Birkholt
Date: December 5, 2015


Sanburg, Savannah S. (MSS, Social Sciences)
The Transgender Competitor: Debate Community Practices
Thesis Directed By Associate Professor Omar Swartz
m
ABSTRACT
The politics surrounding sexual orientation within the forensics community
reinforces a binary that compromises fairness. In recognizing the differences in
gender performance and the social construction of sexual orientation in the forensics
community, the realm of debate and competitive sportsmanship finds an
unacknowledged and unheard voice. From this process, we can begin to understand
the needs of students who identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender
identity and/or sexual orientation. There is a lacuna in scholarship on transgender
debate competitors that my research aims to fill. This thesis consists of a critical
analysis of gender via theory. This will allow me to contextualize the empirical data
of the following: a qualitative survey of (1) High School and Collegiate Speech and
Debate students in the Colorado Region and (2) a qualitative survey of Judges and
Coaches from the High School and College Speech and Debate Association in the
Rocky Mountain Region. Judges privilege traditional notions of heteronormative
masculinity, potentially ranking competitors differently and increasing the risk factor
for transgender competitors to lose a round, hindering their ability to compete long
term, thus having the effect of alienating them from the forensics community.
This thesis challenges heteronormative gender performativity and addresses
how the forensics community fails to address transphobia. Through the practice of
autoethnography, I will explain how my own experiences have been influenced by my


involvement in the forensics community prior to and after my transition. As both a
competitor and judge, I am familiar with the cultural differences that are noticeable in
a forensics competition. Thus, debate community practices and procedures are
performed by competitors that are discouraged from expressing their authentic gender
identity in favour of a more heteronormative, cis-centric inauthentic self so that they
may survive in the forensic community.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Omar Swartz


V
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION......................................................1
Research Question...........................................7
Statement of the Problem.....................................8
II. TRANSPHOBIA: THE WRATH OF THE TERF...............................12
III. AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: THE SEARCH FOR SAVANNAH.........................24
Personal Narrative..........................................26
Becoming Savannah...........................................27
IV. POLITICS AND SATIRE: THE VOYAGE HOME.............................34
Literature Review...........................................34
Women in Debate.............................................36
V. EQUALITY AND SEXUAL DIFFERENCE: FIRST CONTACT (JENNER)... 43
Defining Equality and Sexual Difference Adriana Cavarrero.43
Foucauldian Rhetoric........................................52
Bourdieu Analyses...........................................53
Butler: Gender Performance/Said: Orientalism................56
VI. MEDIA & PUBLIC PERCEPTION........................................58
Transgender Politics........................................60
Transgender Athletes........................................62
Gender Performance..........................................65
Identity Politics, Our Values & Perception..................66
VII. TRANSGENDER COMPETITORS IN THE FORENSICS COMMUNITY.............68
Defining the Forensics Community
68


VI
Authentic Self versus Inauthentic Self......................69
Survey Analyses.............................................70
VIII. CONCLUSION.......................................................72
Future Scholarship..........................................72
WORKS CITED..........................................................73-78
APPENDIX................................................................79
A. Participants Survey.................................80-124


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Historical perspectives have given people the opportunity to see how society
adapts to change. From the brash pride of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixons
presidential inaugural debate debut on September 26, 1960, the world had a detailed
glimpse of its first televised debate. During this debate, viewers began comparing and
contrasting the physical appearance of the candidates. According to Kayla Webley
(2010), Nixon performed much better in the subsequent debates (and appeared better
thanks to the "milkshake diet" his aides put him on to fatten him up). However, it was
elucidated in Webleys interview with Alan Schroeder, a media, the damage had
already been done. To quote Schroeder, You couldn't wipe away the image people
had seared in their brains from the first debate. (Webley, 2010, ]}5), Kennedy even
acknowledged the role that the televised debate had in his victory. On November 12th
he said, It was the TV more than anything else that turned the tide.
Little did we know, then and now, that televised presidential debates would
become a crucial factor in the history of American politics. Televised presidential
debates would continue for the next generation starting with Jimmy Carter, despite the
reticence of Richard Nixon and other presidential candidates to participate in them
(Greene,2012, ]}3). The televised debate gives viewers a perspective in which they can
critique the better debater and gain more of an insight on how they would handle the
job of president. After all, being able to answer questions that candidates do not
expect is the closest thing that the public can experience with regards to how a
presidential candidate may react to events that also come in an unexpected order.
Kennedys first debate revealed a confident and strong leader determined to
win, a real challenger against the experienced Vice President Nixon. However,


2
Geraldine Ferraro was generally chucked in the bin after the Mondale/Ferraro ticket
lost. Unlike Sarah Palin, she didnt have the ability or desire to cash in on a litany of
inane rantings with reality television shows and ghostwritten books. According to
Steve Komacki:
Generally, defeated vice presidential candidates are automatically considered
prime contenders for their partys next open presidential nomination: Sarah
Palin after 2008, John Edwards after 2004, Joe Lieberman after 2000, and so
on. Even Jack Kemp, his political career briefly resurrected when Bob Dole
unexpectedly added him to the Republican ticket in August 1996, was talked
up as a 2000 prospect after that campaign, even if his dull performance on the
campaign trail soured many Republicans on the idea of making him a future
standard-bearer. (2011, ]}7)
In 1984, the first female vice-presidential candidate, Ferraro, ran on the
Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale, giving America its first glance at female
Presidential candidates. Ferraro gave established its first view of the glass ceiling for
women in the political arena because prior to Ferraros bid, women were consider as
an option for such powerful political prestige. While the Democratic Party ran its own
female VP candidate, would sexism still be enough of an issue to ruin the
Mondale/Ferraro ticket? The Democratic Party broke its own glass ceiling on female
VP candidates in 1984, 24 years before the Republican Party would do the same. In
2008, America had the first chance to see a televised debate that included a female
presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
The value of Komackis research is that without womens contribution in
politics, we would not have a historical framework to build upon and reach the
conclusion that physical appearance discrimination is evident for marginalized groups
who do not fit the dominant cultural physical script. U.S. politics is woefully
unrepresentative of the population of the country. The majority of Americans are
neither white, male, rich, nor attorneys, yet this is the overwhelming majority of both


3
chambers of the legislature. Additionally, few candidates serving in either the U.S.
executive, legislative or judicial branches of government that practice anything other
than Judaism or Christianity when, the percentages of the American population are
mirrored and accurately represented in Congress, 8 should be Jewish, 8 should be
agnostics, 8 should be atheists, 4 should be Buddhists, 4 should be Muslims and 24
should be unaffiliated secularists (Pew Research Center, 2015). However, according
to Masci and Miller of the Pew Research Center (2008), 97.7% of Congress people
practice some denomination of Christianity or Judaism, with 3 members claiming to
be of an other faith, two being Buddhist. Two being Muslim with five who did not
specify their religious beliefs, this falls quite short of what we should expect of an
equally balanced Congress that mirrors the views of the American people.
Lynn Conway is a professor emerita of the University of Michigan and a
member of the National Academy of Engineering. She has worked for IBM,
Memorex, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre and at the Defence Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She is a strong academic in computer science
and has been in transition for decades. In 2001, she started to do research on the
prevalence of transgender people because the number that the American
Psychological Associated cites as the prevalence are, in fact, inaccurate.
Despite the fact that there are likely 1 in 200 people "with strong TG feelings"
and are likely to conduct a TG transition, (Conway, 2001) and 1:500 have "intense
TS feelings" and are likely to conduct a TS transition, (Conway, 2001), at least two
members of the House of Representatives should have strong TG feelings and one
should have intense TS feelings if the House of Representatives were truly


4
representative of the population of America. Conway defines TG transition and TS
transition as:
Some fraction of the transgender crossdressers [sic] moving through this
community will go on to transition and take on a full-time social role as
women. Of these, some will complete a TG transition (without SRS), obtain
new ID's, and live as women afterwards. A smaller group will complete a TS
transition by also having SRS. In the United States those who complete a TS
transition can in most states take on full legal status as women (updating their
birth certificates, being able to marry men, adopt children, etc). fl}5, 2001)
In the State of Colorado, a trans* individual could have his/her identity
documents changed through an incredibly bureaucratic process requiring two trips to
the DMV (one to get the form and one to submit the form) and a trip to the physician
to sign the form. For persons born in California, the process of correcting your birth
certificate was insensitive of the relevant laws in places where transgender people
might live. For example, until 2014, to get your birth certificate corrected, you would
have to go to the Superior Court where you live for a court order for the Department
of Vital Records to correct your birth certificate pursuant to California law. While this
might not be a problem for those still living in California, what of the transgender
person who lived in Colorado? The California courts interpreted the law to mean that
any state could issue such an order but many states refused to interpret California law
in their own courts. However, on the 8th of October 2013, Governor Brown made it
so that the Division of Vital Records could take administrative action in this regard
(Steichmann, 2013).
The forensics community has been notorious for breeding lawyers, politicians,
lobbyists, and accomplished people outside of the debate world. This is observed by
Kathryn Thomas, who works for Senator Bernie Sanders as an environmental research
assistance. Thomas graduated from Southern Illinois University after successfully


5
competing in the forensics community four years. United States Colonel Joshua
Seefried competed in forensics in the U.S. Air Force Academy and has published his
memoirs as an openly gay air force cadet and gives talks across the United States.
Kevin Gamer owns his own marketing firm after competing and coaching at Texas
Tech University for the past ten years. Gamer has successfully won national
championships in the National Parliamentary Debate Association in 2006. Past
competitors become involved at the highest levels of politics as politicians or
lobbyists. The power of forensics community and its effect on public policy and
legislation is can be correlated with the experiences gained by forensic competitors in
the early years of their education. This is supported by Thomas' current research and
her experience as a policy debater now writing for Senator Sanders focusing
specifically on her advanced education and studies an Environmental law attorney.
This thesis will utilize three major research strategies: (1) a critical analysis of
gender via theory. This will allow us to contextualize the empirical data of the
following: (2) a qualitative analysis of High School and Collegiate Speech and Debate
students and (3) a qualitative analysis of Judges and Coaches from the High School
and College Speech and Debate Association. This thesis is situated theoretically in the
works of: Michel Foucault, whose work looks at the construction or surveillance of
gender to gain a clear understanding of the gender binary; Omar Swartz, who
demonstrates the need to rethink how language is critical in education through his
analyses on social justice and its importance to pedagogy. These theorists offer a
particular perspective in social justice that helps frame a theoretical scope of equality
for people experiencing sexual difference in American politics. Media perception and
experiences have given evidence to how our society lacks an appropriate, sensible


6
perspective and how the notions of physical appearance and discrimination have
operated in small narrow hallway that acknowledges the intersectionality of race,
class, and gender as competing paradigms in the forensics community. Forensics
competitor Alyssa Reid shares her open experience as a lesbian identified competitor
in her thesis in 2012. Reid distinguishes her challenges and obstacles that she faced as
a participant whom understand the intricacies of physical appearance and its direct
correlation to community practices. Reid argues:
[w]hy would I want to be like everyone else? It seemed counterintuitive to be
the best at being the most like everyone else. Assaulting my choice to wear
ties to tournaments or otherwise was more than an affront to my sheer vanity
and uniqueness. It was an attack on my identity, gender, and personal history.
I stood my ground for years, until one day when I decided to wear pearls with
a conservative camisole underneath a pearlescent light blue skirt suit to the
American Forensic Association (2012, p37)
Reids experience as a lesbian forensics competitor and choosing not to adopt
the traditionally conservative rubric of the debate dress code (as suits/ties, for men,
and for women, dresses/suits) that is often associated with a female gender identity,
opting for a more masculine form of dress, which was something she found useful and
allowed Reid flexibility in her experiences as a forensics competitor. However, for
Reid, she admittedly recognized that her physical appearance as a more androgynous
competitor cost her advancement in many tournaments that could have earned her
more prestigious awards, not because of her arguments but by having the temerity to
challenge the presentation of her own gender identity.
Practices and procedures are performed by competitors who enact gender
segregation by reinforcing traditional gender roles, which elicit and practice obvious
gender binary roles. Reid argues:
Like any organizational culture there are explicit and implicit rules (norms).
Forensic competition follows rules that are primarily established by national


7
organizations and by tournament directors for local tournaments and forensic
culture is perpetuated through many rituals and norms. The forensic world is
its own cultural microcosm filled with demanding norms that dictate how
performers should look and act. Intercollegiate forensics is in fact so
shrouded in norms that often competitors and critics treat the norms as
juridical doctrine. (]}4, 2012)
Reids description of the forensics community is definitive of her observations
as a competitor and intersects with her own sexual orientation as a lesbian. The
limitation with Reids analysis is that only parts of it apply to those that are identified
as transgender. Even so, the experience of competing in the forensics community is
vastly different for a cisgender gay or lesbian competitor than it would be for
competitors that identify as transgender. Cisgender gay and lesbian competitors are
more acclimated and secure in their gender identity and less often worry about
discrimination based on gender identity or expression than would a transgender
competitor. This can be especially true for competitors at the high school level who
may have less support at home and less agency to seek out medical intervention, thus
being on the receiving end of more discrimination based on their gender identity.
I hope to reach the problem of exclusion in the forensics community for
transgender competitors and address some of the social stigma already given to trans*
competitors by default. Hopefully, this will allow for more fairness in forensics
judging.
Research Question
Is there a negative perception of transgender competitors within the high
school and college speech and forensics community? Do judges rank them
differently? I contend, as it currently stands in the status quo, the forensics community
privileges traditional performances of heterosexual masculinity and femininity,


8
allowing discrimination based on physical appearance to unfairly impose inequalities
predicated upon sexual difference.
Statement of the Problem
Transgender competitors encounter a double bind upon entry into the forensics
community by being faced with transphobia and male competitive sportsmanship,
creating an us versus them society that can easily influence and change the
judges ballots at the end of the round causing the trans* competitor to lose the round.
Physical appearances of transgender competitors potentially can create a bias that can
de detrimental to the competitor, silencing his/her voice in the forensics community.
Transgender people suffer from prejudice in the forensics community due to
factors that exist in the larger community. The forensics community does not exist in
a bubble, and people come to the table with their own values, ideals, and perceptions.
While this is an asset for forensics because arguments in debate should stand or fall
on their own merit, it can be detrimental for someone who does not enjoy cisgender
privilege. This is significant because members that represent the forensics community
have traditionally achieved great success, becoming congressmen and women in
American politics as well as lawyers and judges. Their experiences and voices can be
a vital part of a working and growing community, if the members of this community
can understand cis privilege. I demonstrate the disenfranchisement of transgender
people within the forensics community Through analysis of survey respondents,
analogous to the disenfranchisement of transgender athletes such as Caitlyn Jenner.
This disenfranchisement has a negative impact on the transgender community, the
forensics community overall, and society at large for several very important reasons
that I will discuss in detail in Chapter V.


9
As members of the forensics community gain positions of power and
privilege, a flawed understanding of transgender people can have a negative impact
on public policy. When using language that is harmful toward transgender people
without thinking of the rhetorical ramifications, rhetors, as opinion leaders due to their
success, often plant the seeds of prejudice in the minds of well-meaning but ill-
informed people.
In this thesis, I will first address the issue of transphobia and how it impacts
the transgender competitor in the forensics community. Does she or he stand a chance
in the eyes of a critic who may discriminate against that competitor based on either
transphobia or physical appearance? This is an important issue that needs to both be
explored and assessed in order to accurately assess the impact on the transgender
competitor.
In the next chapter, I will examine my own personal narrative in self-reflexive
autoethnography. The purpose of self-reflexive autoethnography is to bring my
personal experiences as both a transgender competitor and a judge to assess my
perspective on transphobia and how transgender competitors are perceived in the
forensics community. I can also attest to how lonely it was to transition at such a
young age and be one of the few transgender competitors in the field.
In Chapter V: Equality and Sexual Difference, I go in depth with theory
examining how gender plays a role in how competitors are assessed and how their
identities are perceived. I include theorists such as Foucault, Bourdieu, Butler and
Said that touch upon and categorize identities in our cissexist world.
In Chapter VI: Media and Public Perception, I discuss gender performance and
how cissexist, heteronormative presentations of gender negatively impact the


10
expression of variant gender identities. This is further analyzed when we discuss
physical appearance discrimination and how a trans* competitors might be negatively
impacted in the early stages of his/her transition and how issues such as lack of
familial support and lack of assistance financing the most effective procedures in
transition severely harm the transgender rhetor. I then wrap the chapter discussing
identity politics, our values and perception and how that impacts the transgender
rhetor.
Before we conclude, we must tie all of these points back together with how the
transgender rhetor is impacted. In Chapter VII, we first define the forensics
community. Then we discuss the experiences of transgender competitors and we
introduce a qualitative survey of competitors and judges that explores LGBT issues,
focusing on transgender issues. We then discuss the authentic self versus the
inauthentic self, performing a foucauldian analysis of transgender competitors in the
forensics community and the choices that he/she would have to make. We then finally
discuss the judges role and their potential biases, which may cost the transgender
competitors a trophy that they might have otherwise earned if was not for transphobia
and physical appearance discrimination.
This thesis aims to address the silenced voices of trans* competitors by
speaking to the experiences that I have faced. Additionally, by acknowledging
transphobia as a systemic problem in our society, but more specifically, in the
forensics community, the goal of this thesis is to explore why transphobia is a
problem and possibly how trans* competitors can begin to engage in discourse that


11
would eventually allow for a more inclusive community. In the next chapter, I will
address what is transphobia and how it is pervasive in the status quo.


12
CHAPTER II
TRANSPHOBIA: THE WRATH OF THE TERF
Transgender people suffer from prejudice in the forensics community due to
factors that exist in the larger community. While this is an asset for forensics because
arguments in debate should stand or fall on their own merit, it can be detrimental for
someone who does not enjoy cisgender privilege. This is significant because members
that represent the forensics community have traditionally achieved great success,
becoming congressmen and women in American politics as well as lawyers and
judges. Their experiences and voices can be a vital part of a working and growing
community, if the members of this community can gain understanding of cis
privilege. I can demonstrate the disenfranchisement of transgender people from the
forensics community through analysis of survey respondents, analogous to the
disenfranchisement of transgender athletes such as Caitlyn Jenner. This
disenfranchisement has a negative impact on the transgender community, the
forensics community overall, and society at large for several very important reasons
that I will discuss in detail.
The best and most comprehensive definition I could find of transphobia comes
from the British Crown Prosecution Service, (2007) as a dislike or fear of transgender
people but also includes doing something or abstaining from doing something because
a person does not like transgender people. The reason we must look to the
Commonwealth for even a definition is that transphobia is not taken seriously in the
United States, as shown by narratives that are pushed about transgender people in this
country. These narratives include the disrespectful attitude towards Caitlyn Jenner just
for being transgender to organized movements active opposing the equal rights and


13
safety of transgender people, such as the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (or
TERF). Forensics competitors are ranked and judged mostly by three factors in
competition, their performance, their presentation, and the judge. While they can
control the first and second with more difficulty and money, the third is completely
out of their control. If a transgender competitor faces a judge that is transphobic, their
passing privilege may be the difference between a high ranking ballot and a low
ranking ballot.
In this chapter, I will discuss transphobia in relation to current events, such as
the coming out of Caitlyn Jenner and comparing that to the lived experience of
transgender women in the real world. I also touch on factors that negatively impact
the transgender community such as physical appearance discrimination, trans-
exclusionary radical feminists, (TERFs) the American Psychiatric Associations
miscalculation of the prevalence of transgender people, and the flawed cisgender
perception of how the LGBT community works together despite infighting.
Caitlyn Jenner recently came out as transgender, but before coming out,
Caitlyn was a known athlete winning an Olympic medal and was even featured on
boxes of Wheaties cereal. Even though this was decades ago, a media spotlight
continues to shine upon her because of her association with the Kardashians, a family
that is often in the media for inexplicable reasons.
Caitlyns transition is vastly different from the average transgender woman in
many different ways. The first and most salient way in which it is different is her
disposable income, which has made it much easier for her to afford surgeries to affect
her transition and complete it in a rapid manner. Many transgender people often
cannot afford facial feminization surgery or sex reassignment surgery due to


14
economics factors that include discrimination against transgender people in matters of
employment, housing, and public accommodations. This is not to diminish Ms.
Jenners transition in any way, as she faces her own challenges vis-a-vis her
transition. An example would be a recent petition to the International Olympic
Committee to strip her of her Olympic medals while she was living her life as a male.
(Heck, 2015,1J2)
Another challenge is that such a famous coming-out resulted in bigots of all
stripes using Caitlyns story to advance their own homophobic agenda, most notably
Fox News continuing its tradition of homophobia and transphobia by making
disgusting comments. It started with Fox Business Neil Cavuto beginning his Caitlyn
Jenner segment with yelling What the HELL is going on? in a voice that no person
secure in their gender identity would scream in when reporting this story. Not to be
undone, Dagen McDowell misgendered Caitlyn several times during his segment and
Cavuto joked about Caitlyn Jenner by feminizing the name of his next guest, a person
who was not female and ended the segment with the quote Rome, final days, but its
fine (Stem, 2015, ]}4).
This abuse of Caitlyn Jenner, couched in such a rhetorical manner, is obvious
as abuse. If Caitlyn were cisgender, would it be so easy for these people to attack her
and her gender so repeatedly? While some of them (such as religious leaders) are
being consistent with the rest of their homophobic and transphobic screeds, others
attack transgender women based on an ideology that falsely claims to be feminist
when in reality, it is nothing but the hatred of transgender women masking itself as
feminist to the detriment of feminism. In an article for Bitch Media, Vasquez fl|21,
2014) discusses how cisgender women are at minimum guilty of not standing up


15
against TERFs and the damage they do not just to trans women but the very image of
feminism. The lack of transgender voices in the forensics community will become
evident as rhetors across the nation come together to debate various topics, one of
which will invariably be Caitlyn Jenners transition. This may be significant for
transgender competitors who may feel the need to out themselves and tell their story,
and cisgender people who will need to show their level of understanding (or lack
thereof) of transgender issues.
While it may be slowly changing, cisgender people in this modern day are
often ill equipped to discuss transgender issues in a respectful manner. Again,
Vasquez fl|21, 2014) opines about how cisgender people often feel that its not their
place to discuss these issues or where these people are concerned about seeming as
though they are speaking for trans women, which may discourage cisgender feminists
from speaking on the issues of transphobia and transmisogyny. Given the statistical
commonality of transgender people, as demonstrated by Lynn Conway (2012), it is
more than likely that everyone has met someone who is gender variant in some way
or another; however, most people do not recognize this. With the media still thinking
that it is acceptable to dead name a transgender person, how can transgender people
trust the media to handle their issues and their lives with any sort of dignity or
understanding? While there are some positive media stories, such as Laverne Cox
being interviewed by Time Magazine, the very presence of Cox shows how not only
she plays into stereotypes of trans women, but also how rare it is for transgender
actors to play transgender roles. Additionally, with one out of six transgender people
facing incarceration (National Centre for Transgender Equality, 2015, p42), the idea
of transgender people in prison being portrayed inaccurately is disturbing.


16
Transgender people all across the country see their rights challenged along with their
gender identities in the most hurtful ways, and the forensics community is not exempt
from the prejudices that exist in the general populace.
A startling example would be the fact that in 30 years, cisgender women have
only won the National Parliamentary Debate Associations championship, in 2007.
While some may inaccurately see this as irrelevant to the discrimination faced by
transgender rhetors, transphobia stands on the nexus of sexism and cissexism. Even
against cisgender women, shows the transgender competitor a depressing statistic on
how likely they are a transgender competitor to get far in the championship, let alone
win. How likely is it for a transgender woman to win when she has to compete against
cisgender men?
As members of the forensics community gain positions of power and
privilege, a flawed understanding of transgender people can have a negative impact
on public policy. When using language that is harmful toward transgender people
without thinking of the rhetorical ramifications, rhetors often plant the seeds of
prejudice in the minds of well meaning but ill-informed people.
Another example of how the forensics community views literature is
examining how competitors perform and engage through the importance of selections
of Oral Interpretation performed at various forensics tournaments by forensics
competitors that speak to the transgender experience and perspectives. While tackling
prejudice against trans* rhetors is the most important thing we can do, considering the
fact that, to this date, no transgender competitor has ever won a national forensics
championship, pieces that speak to the realities of transgender life and people help to
replace negative stereotypes with a fuller, more human picture.


17
Ultimately, this thesis strives to educate individuals on the intricacies of life as
a transgender person and how she or he negotiates the ideological assumptions of
society. Media perception of transphobia is playing out in current everyday lives.
Caitlin Jenner raised the awareness of trans issues around the world when she
unveiled herself and her identity, no longer identified with her assigned name, Bruce
Jenner. Caitlyns symbolic coming out process has drawn renewed attention to, and
opened a dialogue about, transgender issues. Her coming out has also had the effect of
forcing the world to acknowledge transgender identities once again. John Stewart of
The Daily Show addresses Jenner as the brave new girl! (2015) in his shows often
satirical accompanying graphics. The significance of Jenners transition gives the
transgender community exposure that the gay and lesbian community (physical
changes that takes place in the transgender community can create a disconnect from
the gay/lesbian community) is separated from, given the lack of accurate
representation of transgender people in the media. Specifically, gay
In recent decades, the representation of gay and lesbian people has improved
so that its just another characteristic that characters can have and does not define
their character. While it is a common trope to have a token character, whether black,
female or gay who serve no other purpose and has no defining characteristics, there
are some mediums that do a good job writing gay and transgender characters that are
full characters and their identity does not centre completely around being transgender.
An example would be the character of Claire Augustus in the web comic
Questionable Content. A token character is solely defined by their minority, but the
long-time readers were heavily invested in Claire as a character long before she came
out as transgender to Marten, one of the main characters, at a party. Claire is a


18
refreshing example of when authors get transgender characters right and build a
relatable, fully formed character (Rosenberg, 2013,1)9-10),
Transphobia in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community
is a prevalent issue that is felt and observed by many trans* individuals. It seems
counterintuitive, but other groups have similarly excluded sex/gender minorities. The
idea that feminists, a group that arguably fights for women, a minority that still faces
discrimination to this day, could discriminate against transgender people is deeply
problematic. After all, the African-American church has a long, shameful history of
disowning and bullying LGBT people not just out of the church but also out of the
black community and even out of their families. Swartz (2015) argues that the civil
and human rights struggles are essentially the same as the struggles faced by African-
Americans. Additionally, Swartz discusses how religion and the effects it has on the
African-American community can weaken the black family by alienating and


19
ostracizing gay African-American relatives. The analogy between the African-
American church and community disowning gay relatives can be drawn to how the
cissexual lesbian and gay community can put the struggles of the transgender
community on the side to achieve their own goals such as the Human Rights
Committees support of a gender-exclusive, employment non-discrimination act
(Roberts, ]}3, 2013).
The heteronormative cisgender populace believes that all LGBT people not
only understand each other but support each other. Often, organizations that purport to
fight for the rights of LGBT people often throw transgender people under the bus to
get rights for the cisgender LGB populace and a prominent example would be the
fight for a gender-inclusive employment non-discrimination act and how the Human
Rights Committee stood as one of only two groups (the other, being Log Cabin
Republicans) to oppose a gender-inclusive version of the bill. (Roberts, f7, 2013)
However, upon a closer review of the facts, there are elements in the cisgender LGB
community that are, at best, transphobic and at worst, transantagonistic. Todd
Clayton, a gay author with the Huffington Post, recognizes that when he used to be
transphobic and says, I remember a co-worker telling me that her sibling had just
come out as transgender and not knowing what to say to her. I remember making
jokes. I remember feeling uncomfortable when trans* people would walk into the
coffee shop (2013,]}4).
While some people eventually have a change of heart and try to adjust their
thinking to become more inclusive of others, some people seem intent on maliciously
attacking the transgender community. Cathy Brennan, an attorney who is also a trans
exclusionary radical feminist is an example of this. Despite identifying a lesbian,


20
Brennan sees no problem working with the Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based
organisation that is recognised as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty
Law Centre (McEwen, 2014), to harass a transgender minor at a Colorado school. The
position of Brennan and the Pacific Justice Institute was that [sjimply by entering the
girls locker room, she was inherently intimidating and harassing the other girls who
use it, despite having no evidence to substantiate this claim (Ford, ]}6, 2013).
Brennan even sent harassing e-mails to the physicians of another transgender woman
and has engaged in a number of harassing behaviours that, pursuant to the letter of the
law, would constitute harassment at best and domestic terrorism at worst, given the
intention to intimidate not just the particular transgender women she happens to be
attacking, but any trans women who wish to engage politically (Vasquez, ]}3, 2014).
It may seem ironic that someone who is a lesbian is exercising these
prejudices, but the same could be said of people who lack privilege in any sphere
attacking another group of people who also lack privilege. An example would be the
black pastor, who lacks white privilege, attacking Wiccans, who lack Christian
privilege. Such person is implicitly saying, as Swartz notes, The irony here is
difficult to swallow. I, for one, would not want to secure my civil rights by standing
on the neck of another. Without any apparent appreciation for the irony of their
actions, African American critics of gay rights are engaging in the same rhetorical
strategies as white critics of the Civil Rights movement (p. 11-12, 2015). Swartz sees
this as identity politics that succeeds by standing on the neck of others, a position
that Swartz and I both agree is explicitly wrong. For the black pastor to discriminate
against the gay African American, it reveals the hypocrisy inherent in a man who
should, for all ideals, be against prejudice but practices prejudice by his very vocation.


21
The attack of transgender people is fuelled solely by transphobia and/or cissexism.
Given the lack of understanding of transgender people by the general populace,
transphobia is still seen as socially acceptable. Adam Sandler is able to create awful
movies where he dresses as a woman, while if he went in blackface, people would
rightly be upset. And its not just Adam Sandler, cis women (and even more
disgustingly, cis men) are often cast to play transgender women in movies, denying
transgender women these opportunities in the acting community. (Wilchins, 2015, ]}3)
No one would think to allow a cis man to play a cis woman, so why would it be seen
as acceptable for a cis man to play a trans woman?
This is made significant because, when transgender people are portrayed in
dramatic literary cuttings and selections by cisgender rhetors, do they also enact their
prejudices either overtly by changing the piece or covertly by changing their
mannerisms to account for prejudices held against transgender people? Given the
widespread transphobia in society, transgender people may not be willing or able to
speak on their own issues. They may feel disenfranchised, especially if a cisgender
rhetor makes light of their struggles in life. This is even worse if the transgender
rhetor does not have passing privilege, which is the privilege that is accorded to
transgender people who appear to be a cisgender member of their gender.
Physical appearance discrimination in the transgender community is an
everyday experience. Public perception of trans* individuals is drawn from a
heightened fear of what the trans* individual represents. I have already talked about
Cathy Brennan and there are others, such as Janice Raymond who not only wrote the
incredibly paranoid screed, the Transsexual Empire, she also advised the U.S.
Government on policy relating to transgender healthcare. TERF rhetoric is often


22
incendiary and attacks transgender women on a number of issues, working hard to
advocate against equal rights even to stand with conservative organization. TERFs
have rejected using the pronoun she for trans* women because of faulty logic and a
rejection of one of the most basic tenets of feminism, that biology does not equal
destiny. An example would be the total misunderstanding of what it means to be a
transgender woman that the New Yorker author Michelle Goldberg (2014) had
displayed in her article What is a Woman?
Goldberg claims that transgender women still retain male privilege even
though statistically, this is not only untrue but transgender women are even more
likely to suffer pay and employment discrimination because of their status as both a
woman and a transgender person. (Weiss, ]}5, 2015) According to Crosby Bums of the
Center for American Progress (]fl2, 2012), Recent research and data point to
significant disparities in earnings for gay and transgender workers. This is especially
the case for gay men and transgender women. Crosbys research found that the
earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third following their gender
transitions [and] the earnings of male transgender workers slightly increased
following their transition. As such, transgender men may actually experience a wage
advantage rather than a wage penalty (][12). So, the claim that transgender women
still retain male privilege is not only factually wrong, transgender men gain male
privilege as a result of their transition.
Goldberg also claims that transgender people are rare: one in 30,000. Unlike
most of her claims, this may not be entirely dishonest given that this is the number
that the American Psychiatric Association has published in previous years. However,
research performed by Conway & Winter (^[21, 2011) shows that, even using the most


23
conservative of calculations, the prevalence of transgender people who go through sex
reassignment surgery is closer to one in 2,500.
As in other areas, transphobia in the forensics community is something that is
difficult to prove. At the end of the day, one of the strongest ways transphobia can
become recognizable when a cisgender judge, coach, or competitor exercises their
biases by verbalizing their disapproval of transgender people. It is difficult to prove
transphobia in each specific instance, given the anonymity of the ballots and the rules
protecting such anonymity, but when transgender competitors are not often
represented in national-level competitions, one has to question: where all the
transgender competitors?
As I wrap up this chapter on transphobia, I feel it is deeply important to touch
on these issues, which all transgender people face, before we move on to Self-
Reflexive Autoethnography. The reason why we must study transphobia and discuss
the struggles that all transgender people face is to not only strengthen our
understanding of the transgender self-reflexive autoethnography, but we also have the
responsibility to understand how transgender people are impacted by forces outside of
their control. With factors that make living as transgender people harder, and with
groups that try to make people who deny service to LGBT people, such as Kim Davis,
into martyrs and draw faulty comparisons between Kim Davis and Rosa Parks
(Eversley, 2015, ]jl), we must understand why the world can be hostile to transgender
people before we can fully address the issues a transgender competitor may face in the
forensics community.


24
CHAPTER III
AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: THE SEARCH FOR SAVANNAH
Self-reflexive autoethnography is increasingly important in discussing issues
pertinent to the transgender community. Transgender competitors and the struggles
they face are no exception. Self-reflexive autoethnography lends us a lens by which
we can study the transgender experience as it relates both to competition itself and
specifically to how a transgender competitor will feel and be judged.
In this chapter, I will provide Sarah Walls definition of autoethnography.
After that, I will discuss my personal narrative as a transgender rhetor and as a judge.
Wrapping up this chapter, I will discuss my past and present experiences in the
transgender community, arriving at conclusions about my future in both the
transgender and forensics communities. It is my goal to highlight how and why the
voices of transgender competitors in the forensics community have been silenced, for
they have been silent for far too long.
According to Sarah Wall:
Autoethnography is an emerging qualitative research method that allows the
author to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her experience
to extend understanding about a societal phenomenon. Autoethnography is
grounded in postmodern philosophy and is linked to growing debate about
reflexivity and voice in social research. (2006, p. 146)
Walls analysis is important in understanding autoethnography and its importance in
studying the impact of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity in a way that quantitative research may be lacking.
The personal narrative or personal experience is uniquely linked to the
forensics community in categories where a competitor who is competing in either
debate and oral interpretation, possibly can engage the audience in a summary or


25
oration of hers or his own. Forensics competitors summarize in their individual
written introductions particular arguments/frameworks for why they select and choose
an author or prose to convey a particular thematic approach. In Debate, a competitor
may give a narrative to expand on a particular ideology or critique that may answer a
rhetorical question given at the beginning of the round. This strategy engages both
judges and competitors.
Physical appearance discrimination in any community is difficult to swallow
and the LGBT community faces this gross experience on day-to-to basis. In July
2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood,
Colorado, and were denied service on the basis of their sexual orientation. A case was
brought to the Civil Rights Division of the Colorado Department of Regulatory
Agencies (DORA) and it was decided by that division that the owner of Masterpiece
Cakeshop had, in fact, committed discrimination against the couple (Keifer, 2015, ]jl).
While cases like this may be getting national attention, the fact still remains that in the
majority of states, it is legal to engage in employment, public accommodations, and
housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity
(Brown, 2015, ]jl). Additionally, with at-will employment laws existing in every state
and a number of creative ways to couch discrimination, a purely quantitative analysis
of discrimination against LGBT people is lacking.
The issue at play with this is the idea that it is acceptable to discriminate
against another human being for something that they did not choose. If a baker is
willing to open about his bigotry against LGBT people as is the case in the
Masterpiece Cakeshop case mentioned above, why is it such a stretch to believe a
judge might not fairly evaluate a transgender competitor based solely on their


26
performance? Physical appearance discrimination becomes most salient when a
person does not have an outward appearance that affirms their real gender identity.
So, what is so important about self-reflexive autoethnography? Can an
autoethnography truly be self-reflexive, including all of the rhetors shortcomings?
Can a rhetor see herself/himself objectively enough to create an autoethnography that
can be used in lieu of qualitative and quantitative evidence? When talking about
systems of oppression, it is imperative to not only talk about how they affect us as
people, both professionally and personally, but also share the stories of others who
have experienced similar issues. In other words, the production of autoethnographies
helps to strengthen the academic knowledge of being transgender in a world that is
still largely cissexist.
Personal Narrative
What will make this approach unique is that I am writing from the perspective
of a person who was assigned male at birth who has transitioned into a trans* female.
I write from a place of pride and boldness and present my personal experiences, the
intimate narratives of my gender change. I use these observations to analyze critically
the social experiences and responses that a transgender transition poses. To bring this
critical perspective, I incorporate the work of theorists Judith Butler and Edward Said,
which examines gendered and hegemonic constructions in a society. Butler and Said
detail the ideological hierarchies of the world in discourses about sex, gender, and
ethnicity, providing insight into how naturalized these are. Their analyses show that
what seems given is not necessarily true and serves as a form of surveillance and
control of our identities. I use Butlers concept of gender performativity to show
how the complexities of gender performance can divide a society. The consequences


27
for this division can create gender suppression for both women and men along with
the marginalization of transgender people by communities within the larger LGBT
community. I hope that this coverage of my personal narrative will offer a unique
perspective of my life experiences, in which I have been defined. Both the social
implications of transition and the political aspect of trans* lives, through the social
construction of the gender binary (male vs. female), will provide a broader view of
transgender people as a whole through my own story and help others formulate
informed questions about my community.
Becoming Savannah
When I first entered the doors into the forensics community, I was a freshman
in high school. It was in 1992. Little did I know that this community would shape my
future in so many ways. With very little experience in the arena of public speaking, I
learned the art of oral interpretation and how to produce a winning oratory. I was
52, fifteen-years old with braces wearing a gray suit and a black tie. My hair was
combed into a curly afro and I had my oratory notes typed on front of black
construction paper and yellow highlighted annotations of when and where I needed to
pause. During this time, I had not transitioned and was living as my inauthentic self in
a body that I despised. Oratory performance was an outlet: a new discovery in which I
could express my authentic identity through oral performance. Little did I realize that
entering forensics would reshape my own reality.
(Savannahs first oratory 13 years old)


28
Forensics offers a variety of performance based events in which competitors
utilize published manuscripts to interpret various pieces using a dramatic skill set to
entice, engage, and entrance both judges and audience members. The ultimate goal
during this process is to earn the rank of #1 in your preliminary rounds so you can
advance to Finals. As I began to compete at more tournaments, I started to find my
own voice during the process. I became elated and enthralled the more I engaged with
the forensics community. Here, I could read and interpret feminine authors like Maya
Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Nellie Wong, and I would be judged solely on the outcome
of my performance rather than on my gender presentation. What this represented for
me was indescribable.
For the first time in my life, I could be a female character performing as a
woman without repercussions. In the early 1990s, non-normative sexual orientations
were still considered to be quietly taboo; the premise being you do not talk about or
even discuss other genders outside of the gender binary. What this meant was there
were only two sexes. Those who identified as heterosexual were socially acceptable


29
and had more privilege than those who were clearly not. I was incredibly effeminate
and did not show significant stereotypical signs of masculine physical
traits/characteristics which divided and separated me in my high school years. This
was an advantage for me in the forensics community, as I felt accepted by performing
in genres that women typically performed in. For example, I collected poetry and
prose by Maya Angelou, along with other female authors, and read/interpreted these
pieces, advancing to finals, and winning first-place at the State tournament at
Overland High School in 1994. The irony was that I not only won first-place, but I
also won using a female author and my gender presentation became irrelevant.
During my college years (1995-1999) my sexual orientation became more
noticeable among my forensics team members and in the debate community. I would
typically use pieces that would discuss my sexual experiences as they were unfolding
before my eyes. Additionally, I found other authors that discussed gay and lesbian
themes as an advantage in the field of oral interpretation because these pieces became
more competitive. I understood that sexuality, in particular, was highly non-
normative, but yet, added a new flavour to traditional prose that would help me to
become extremely competitive. Straying from Chauser and Edgar Allen Poe allowed
me to choose new authors that addressed contemporary times, giving me a completive
advantage against other competitors. I earned two-legs (seats/bids) for AFA Nationals
at Colorado State University in 1996. This meant I had to rank in Finals in the top-
three places at one tournament in each event: Poetry and Program Oral Interpretation
(POI). After graduating from Colorado State University in 1999,1 began serving the


30
forensics community as a community judge/critic. This meant I would attend
Figure 1: High school valediction, 1995
Colorado State University was an awakening for me on many levels. For
example, I was learning how to accept my own sexuality and how to navigate my
identity in a predominantly cisgender world.
My experiences in 1996 were vastly confined as I did not outwardly identify
as a trans* woman.Instead, I was identifying as an effeminate gay male because I did
not have the vocabulary to define who I really wanted to become; I was not familiar
with the term transgender; but, I understood that life for me as a gay male was
extremely limiting. It was during this time that I began to explore my sexuality. I
utilized the forensics community as avenue for which I could portray various
characters in the many categories that the forensics community offered. Poetry, Prose,
Drama, and POI, I could find literary pieces that were limitless. It did not matter that I
was physically presenting as a male. Most important thing was how I played the
character in round and during competition. The female literary selections that I
performed, I found most riveting. It was during these performances that I noticed my
female self was more apparent and natural. I did not have to prepare as much nor did I


31
have to pretend to be someone I was not; it just came naturally to be a female
character. For example, when reading Maya Angelous I Know Why The Caged Bird
Sings, how I flourished naturally, was simply being able to perform female authors
innately. This meant I identified with female authors and their poetry as it erupted
through my body as if it was my voice. When Maya Angelou says I Know Why The
Caged Bird Sings, I knew it, I expressed it and I delivered it. The success that
accompanied my performances was highly noticeable in many tournaments, as I
would work hard to advance to nationals.
Savannah: The Judge and Critic
I entered the forensics community as a judge in 1999, judging my first high
school debate tournament. In the last 16 years, I have been judging in the forensics
community at all levels, from high school to the collegiate level, travelling to
tournaments hosted all over the United States from California to New York. In my
travels as a judge, I have observed that the only thing that really changes is the
scenery.
It is important to acknowledge that I have passing privilege as a trans woman,
which many trans women do not have. The only exception to this rule is that many of
my former teammates from Colorado State University, all of which are aware of my
transition and have been aware for the past 15 years as it is something I have not
hidden from them. It is truly important to note that as a trans, African-American critic,
my authority is always in question as a judge while on the collegiate circuit. In
NPDA, where oral critiques are given, defending my position as a judge was not
enough for some competitors. This observation only encouraged me to work harder
and smarter so that my identity was not at the forefront to make my decisions in each


32
round. A judge must justify her decision on how she will judge a round where her
identity and her physical appearance can be attacked because it deviates from the
majority.
Judges are constantly under scrutiny when making decisions that can affect a
competitors standing in a tournament. When judges are on the front line, they are
under just as much scrutiny as the competitors use, because if a competitor doesnt
like the decision you made, they can make up all sorts of claims against your decision
all because they didnt get their way. Please keep in mind, these are my observations
as a judge in the last sixteen years.
In this chapter, I summarized the importance of autoethnography and then
shared my personal narrative. I also touched lightly on current events and how they
impact perception of transgender people. As a judge in the Rocky Mountain Region in
the last 15 years, as a judge and tournament director both on the high school and
collegiate levels, I have experienced this first hand on both sides. The question I posit
today is how much would my voice matter in the community if everyone in the
community knew my identity as a transgender woman? On the collegiate level,
everyone I have known and competed with has been accepting and this is directly
related to my experience as a competitor at Colorado State University from 1995-
1999 under the leadership of Dr. Marty Birkholt.
It is my intention to apply to a doctoral programme at a university in Ohio and
expand my experience in the Ohio forensics community on the collegiate level. It is
my goal to open the dialogue about transgender issues while traveling across the
country with my team and not have to deal with transgender issues by trans* angry
students or parents, and that any trans* competitor can feel safe and complacent with


33
housing arrangements and bathroom privileges that do not force compulsory
heterosexuality or cissexuality.


34
CHAPTER IV
POLITICS AND SATIRE: THE VOYAGE HOME
In the following chapter, I have chosen to focus on politics and satire and how
it relates to the forensics community. Politics and satire and interwoven into
American democracy and has given many Americans both laughter and cynicism on
many controversial points of contention allowing television to be the medium where
social issues can be addressed. Over the last decade, we have seen the rise of
influence of comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in news, even though
their shows are on Comedy Central.
Politics and satire are inextricably connected, and both are useful tools that the
forensics community has adopted to send a message. From presidential races to even
the most local of issues, comedians have latched on to the news in a way that
traditional news stations dare not go. Forensics competitors use this medium to their
advantage and often times adapt these pieces for their own performance. To quote the
British Broadcasting Channel:
Modern politicians have an increasingly complicated relationship with satire.
Many choose to go on Have I Got News for You where they will often be
mocked. Why do they put themselves in the firing line? Some, like Boris
Johnson, have found that appearing on satirical television has improved their
public profile. Yet many MPs view the show as potential career suicide and
will do everything to avoid it. The internet has also opened up new avenues for
satire. News sites are spoofed by the likes of the Daily Mash. And social
media platforms like Twitter offer us all the chance to be satirists from the
comfort of our phones. Satire continues to be an important part of the political
landscape. Its voice continues to provoke and challenge and the most effective
satire can change our opinions on an issue or a person. But it doesnt directly
force change.. .no laws have been introduced in parliament off the back of
satire. However what it can do is change the career prospects of many of our
political figures, for better or for worse, (n.d.)


35
Literature Review
The forensics community dates back as early as 1858. According to the
National Park Service, [the] Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of formal
political debates between the challenger, Abraham Lincoln, and the incumbent,
Stephen A. Douglas, in a campaign for one of Illinois two United States Senate seats
(2015). Lincoln may have lost the election, but these debates launched him to a place
of national prominence from which he was able to eventually win election as
President of the United States. As a direct result of the Lincoln debates, a thriving
forensics community was developed. For years, debates among Presidential
candidates became a key qualifier that would distinguish many accomplished
candidates from the inexperienced candidates, giving Americans the chance to hear
politics.
As discussed previously in this thesis, becoming a member of the forensics
community is one of the most considerable beginning steps to launching a long
successful career in politics, journalism and public policy. Debate shapes our society,
reinforces our shared values, and teaches us who we are and what we stand for both
individually and collectively. (Reed, ]} 12, 2012) Oprah Winfrey describes the
importance of forensics to her public career: I was state champion in speech and
drama for two years in high school, and I believe that so much of what I do today is
the direct result of the work I did then (]}6, 2011). What her testimonial reinforces is
that forensics has the potential to transform every students experience in high school
and college.
Since the first televised debate with Presidential candidates Richard Nixon and
John F. Kennedy in 1960, America was given a pen and paper, with which they


36
decide the better debater. Physical appearance was a key element that Americans
could use in order to judge the next President of the United States of America, as was
proven by the results of the first televised debate. This was the first time that physical
appearance played a role in voting. When looking at discrimination based upon
physical appearance, would Franklin Roosevelt have been elected for President if
Americans were aware that he was in a wheelchair and had polio? The process of
otherization and discrimination of marginalized groups: people of color, women,
people with disabilities, and transgender individuals in high school and collegiate
debate are faced with having to confront their identity in competition and being
judged solely based upon physical appearance. Transgender competitors are more
likely to be discriminated against by judges, which creates an unavoidable, unfair, and
undeserving bias.
Women in Debate
There a strong connection among women and trans* competitors in the
forensics community, and that is they both understand equality and sexual difference.
In this chapter, I will discuss women in greater detail examining discourses and
experiences of women in debate and how language has been unforgiving and
restricted. This is best evidenced when comparing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, as
they both were two key figures in the 2008 presidential election. Hillary Clinton was a
strong leader that inspired hope in people and had previous political experience, as
both a former U.S. senator and first lady. Sarah Palin was the vice presidential
nominee whose only other executive experience was as the small town mayor of
Wasilla, Alaska before she became governor of the State of Alaska. While the
announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCains running mate delivered the intended


37
effect of creating a boost right out of the Republican National Convention, she
eventually came off as uneducated and inexperienced on the international stage,
hurting the McCain campaign.
According to senior McCain aides during the 2008 presidential election, Sarah
Palin had serious deficiencies in knowledge when it came to foreign affairs (Roach,
2012). Some examples include not knowing why North and South Korea are different
countries, not understanding the idiosyncrasies between the War in Afghanistan, the
War in Iraq and the overall War on Terror, and the fact that Sarah Palin claimed that
her foreign policy experience was informed by Alaskas proximity to the Russian
Federation. In addition to the fact that Sarah Palin has not held a passport since 2006
(Oakley, 2008), she has called people who have travelled around the world elitists.
Because of these facts, there are serious doubts raised concerning her foreign policy
experience and how well she could represent America on the global stage.
Palins contribution to women in politics shapes the way in which
conservative women will be negatively viewed for generations. Palins main premise
rests on the ideal that she was shattering the glass ceiling even further than Hillary
Clinton. However, what Americans learned from Palins candidacy was the exact
opposite. Sadly, this view of conservative women has been reinforced by
congresswomen like Michelle Bachmann and Christine ODonnell, who have often
been compared to Palin for their own misinformed statements. In politics, perceptions
frame the way in which advocacy for the rights of marginalized groups is perceived.
At one time or another in the U.S, every resident has seen a caricature artist,
either at a street fair or some other public event. The portraits they draw are never true
to life, but rather, they are an exaggeration of certain qualities about a subject. For


38
example, the artist would draw a subjects nose or eye glasses bigger than they
actually are on the subjects face. The art of the skit does this in a very similar way
through the medium of the theatre. The caricatures of Palin and Hillary, while
emphasizing some fair attributes, also worked off of public perceptions of these
politicians. The actor performing Hillary Clinton in the skit claimed that she was cold
and bitter about not having earned the nomination of the Democratic Party. How is
this anything but an attempt to take away from both the image of these politicians and
to shift the focus from the issues? The importance of this skit is that it also shows a
problematic issue of making competent women seem cold and uncaring and
reinforcing stereotypes.
By performing these exaggerated traits through the public medium of
television and satire, the actors were helping to affirm the ideas and characteristics
that they were emphasizing in the minds of the greater populace. The actors in the skit
from SNL could easily say that they were acting to sway the minds of voters
without overtly doing so. Granted, the intellect of the candidates and whether or not
they can do the job is a very important issue, but many Americans have grown
apathetic toward the office of the President of the United States, especially after the
Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon. We need to put more focus
on the issues and continually refer back to them because this is what matters to every
American in their day to day life, we need to create a shift in emphasis on the
individual politicians back to the issues and where they stand on these issues.
Politics is perception. An assault on a persons image can have both positive
and negative implications, especially for politicians. We judge people based on
reputation; after all, do we not Google potential romantic partners and write/review


39
resumes for potential employers to look at and judge whether we are fit for the
position?
Image is everything in this country and the political candidate that runs for
President must understand this or they will not go far. Image is what killed Herman
Cain and his campaign to become President of the United States. In the Fox News
2012 GOP Republican Primary Debate, Herman Cain quoted a Pokemon song as a
great poet. According to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, We all should have known!
Maddow reframes Cains lack of experience and dirty laundry as women come
forward exposing sexual harassment claims against Cain. Political satire is one of the
avenues where we often see so many of our politicians dirty laundry aired on
television. This can have a detrimental effect on the image of candidates that are
seeking political nomination and sway voters away from voting for their candidates.
This reaffirms how image is essential to public perception.


40
(Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, SNL 2007)
While the skit tried to talk about some disconcerting realities about both of the
candidates running for office, it did ignore several vital issues that voters may
consider key to making their decisions. Serious issues such as repairing the economic
decimation that was inflicted upon the middle class by years of trickle-down
economics or working to strengthen the equal rights of LGBT Americans were not
discussed. However, for the person who has lost their job because of the economy or
the widow of a gay partner having to fight tooth and nail for some economic stability
in a time of emotional upset or crisis, these issues are dramatically important. Let us
not forget that the partner of U.S. first lesbian astronaut, Sally Ride, faced an uphill
battle in trying keep her world from falling to pieces after the death of Ride because
the laws in place still discriminated against her until her death in 2012. Let us not
forget that the people who are losing their jobs because of the economy are being
fought in the arena of public benefits, where opportunistic politicians would call them
lazy for the crime of having lost their job. Welfare has become such a dirty word in
the political sphere, but what else can a person turn to when their jobs have been
taken away from them? At the end of the day, the American people do not really care
about the intelligence or the emotional state of the President or Vice President of the
United States when they are not able to put food on the table and help to support their
families. We neglect what is happening to the U.S. when we only focus on a
candidates personal characteristics.
It is evident that the SNL skits exacerbated these personality traits and over-
exaggerated them, possibly influencing voters by altering public perception and
taking away from the real issues of the campaign. One of the effects of these skits was


41
to fuel these character judgments and work to affirm them in the minds of the
populace when, in fact, it only served to do this in the minds of each candidates
opposition. Additionally, the long-term implications of these skits, and skits like these
have affected the public images of these real life persons because there is a constant
reminder of these stereotypes and over-exaggerated personal characteristics. Finally,
these skits neglected to discuss many of the real issues that face this country such as
economic hardship or other social issues that matter a great deal to many Americans.
With all of these arguments, it is clear that political satire leaves a long lasting
impression.
The significance of satire in politics gives Forensics competitors a first-hand
view of how both presidential candidates and women are seen in debate. Both High
School and Collegiate competitors use television programs such as CNN, NBC, FOX
News, as sources while in round to support arguments made in competition. The
importance of these sources is heavily fuelled by rhetoric in which media perception
has been incredibly influenced. For example, during my Extemporaneous Speaking
rounds at local High School Tournaments, students use these television news
programs as critical sources in which are targeted to affirm or negative any random
topic in which the students have chosen. Fox News, who has been seen by the public
as a traditionally conservative news source, more than likely the strategy of the
competitor, is to use sources that they are familiar with to give them a competitive
advantage. This process is filtered through the forensics community. Rhetoric has an
impact as well as media perception influences its demographic constituency.
Therefore, it comes to no surprise when we see political satire, like SNL taking shape
in the Forensics community as way of supporting or negating an issue.


42
This chapter covers a unique perspective that politics has a hand-in our
forensics competitors see performance and perception as mutually exclusive. The
importance of politics in the forensics community can shape the way in which trans*
competitors are seen in debate. This could be problematic from the lens of the judge
who may harbour bias or lack of knowledge of trans* subjectivity. In the next
chapter, I will aim to address how equality and sexual difference has always been a
defining moment for cisgender women.


43
CHAPTER V
EQUALITY AND SEXUAL DIFFERENCE: THE FINAL FRONTIER
Defining Equality and Sexual Difference Adriana Cavarrero
Italian Feminist and philosophical thinker, Adriana Cavarerro is known for her
study of equality and sexual difference. Cavarerro was inspired by philosopher Luce
Irigaray as the thread of new feminist rhetoric begun take shape in the twentieth-
century. Cavarerros work is significant because she utilized her own narrative as a
constructive way to bridge philosophical thinking into her writing. Therefore, her
voice becomes a critical link in the way in which scholarship has evolved. Cavarrero
argues, womens role in society always to be unequal to the male counterpart. This
chapter will aim to address the ideal behind the construct of categorized identity.
Next, I will aim to examine how the theories of Foucault, Bourdieu, Said and Butler
are wed together as they collectively construct and respond to classified categorized
identities via theory. It is my goal to establish how equality and sexual difference
directly correlate to passing privilege and how conformity to societal norms of gender
expression covertly play out in the forensics community today. For transgender
forensics competitors, their ability to pass maybe the difference between a trophy and
last place.
Gender Performance
Is gender a social construct? This is no easy questions to answer. Over the
years, many theorists have proposed a variety of mechanisms through which identity
may be constructed within a societal context. Two theorists, Said and Bourdieu,
conceptualize identity as the adoption of socially-governed norms through a stringent
classification process, arriving at how we see the gender binary. Foucault asserts that


44
the docile surveillance (monitoring) of human subjectivity is overtly related to
identity. Alternatively, Bourdieu appeals to the habitus (perception/thought) through
which significance and meaning are developed in coordination with other human
beings. Foucault and Bourdieu both offer a view of human behaviour. This is
connected to the transgender competitor as he/she sees his/her gender different from
cisgender competitors. His/her perception is more evaluative as they learn to navigate
the intricacies of the forensics community.
Cavarrero, yet, through an historical analysis of basic political assumptions
surrounding individuals and their membership in the public and private spheres, finds
an erasure or amnesia that continues to work in the modem era (twenty-first
century). Cavarrero traces the foundations of the modern erasure of sexual difference
in the conception of the universal individual. The foundation for this erasure is
acknowledged in the pre-modern era but has lasting effects as the conception of the
universal individual was introduced and through time. Cavarero finds the erasure of
sexual difference in the modem era to be predicated upon the assumption of a
masculine model as the basis for the universal individual in relation to the state. The
erasure of sexual difference leaves feminine sexuality unacknowledged and forgotten
in the political and legal arena by evaluating the varying levels of gender inequality
and obvious sexual differences that are reinforced in contemporary societies.
Cavarrero argues that sexual difference is neither otiose [no practical purpose or
result] nor superfluous (1998, p7) and, therefore, has repercussions and
consequences in the lives of women.
Cavarrero's analyses is directly linked to the transgender forensics competitor
because "equality and sexual difference" is the cause of action in which trans*


45
competitors are critically evaluated from the perception of forensics community
members, coaches, and judges. This evidenced by my own personal narrative and
experiences that I have analyzed critically and discussed thus far in this thesis. As
long as transgender competitors are held to unforgiving standards of social
acceptance, can communities begin to readily acknowledge the plight of trans*
individuals respectively.
Cavarrero notes the importance of sexual difference to be crucial to the
betterment of womens lives because, as she contends: For those who are not
subjects, who do not consist in mind and body of their sexed gender, who do not
possess the symbolic representation that inscribes them in the world, are nothing
themselves, but at most a function in the world of the other (1998, p45). Those who
do not have symbolic representation are constantly functioning in the world where
they are not are actually nothing. Cavarrero argues that if there is without symbolic
representation, women are the other and thus a function of inequality. Where there is
only a one-sex system, there clearly is no representation of another. Because the ideal
of equality is problematized when sexual difference is taken into account, it becomes
clear that equality is simply the absorption of one sexual being into the other and is
already in place. Thus, it also problematizes this ideal of separatism of sex in politics.
This one-sex system can influence how the structures of law and society operate and
have operated for men and women in the same equal protection view under the law.
Cavarero contends that a universal male system is blinding because people do not
understand what it means to be a woman or man in a society. Even notions of
enforcing a justice system for men and women with different laws is having to
understand the very importance of and the existence of being woman and how it is


46
completely irreconcilable and problematic. Once this discourse was understoodthat
women were not equallaws were written to adhere to and support the notoriety of
sexual differences.
This new learned ontological discourse and spheres of existence creates a
dissonance of identity for women who have to seek to see themselves in hierarchies
that would not see them as having assimilated to male behaviour and discourse.
Thinking in terms of sexual difference, is thus not simply a philosophical exercise,
but the inaugural act in a political project that assumes women to be subjects of
capable of freedom and of self-signification (Cavarrero, 1998, pll). What Cavarrero
suggests is that there is this conflated ideology of how people access politics for
women and men that is not as easily accessible. The root of the problem is that there
assumes this sameness that justice will be just as good for women as it is for men
when it is not. Thus, sexual difference is extremely politicized for women who are
existing in a one-sex system and thinking of this sexual difference as an impact on
how Cavarero views how women have to perform maleness in order to succeed in
society. This idea of existence is carried over to the forensics community the moment
the competitor enters the room and acknowledge his/her gender.
Cavarero begins her analysis in order to identify when the ideas of equality
and sexual indifference were brought together. She traces through the pre-modem and
modern periods, comparing and contrasting the Aristotelian view to a modern view
where equality and gender intersect. According to Cavarero, the pre-modern period
was based upon recognition of sexual difference at the levels of social and political
structures. Society was bifurcated to accommodate sexual difference as the
foundational difference between individuals. First, the pre-modem political legal


47
system focused on the historical differences between men. Cavarero contends, The
distinction between the sphere of politics and the sphere of the household (p.44) is
the homologization of a democracy that is recognized for centuries. Cavarrero
suggests that the political sphere cannot survive without the household sphere. A man
cannot engage in politics without the production from the household sphere. A man
cannot be fruitful without the wealth, nourishment, and productivity if he did have the
household sphere. Furthermore, she acknowledges both spheres evolved
simultaneously. Originally, this discourse was constructed to differentiate amongst
men in the pre-modern system. Cavarero argues, The distinction between politika
and oikonimika (economy) or that between public and private remains essentially
unchanged until the pre-modem epoch (p.34). Importantly, this quote highlights that
the entire realm in which women operated has been completely taken away. For
centuries, the only sphere that women have maintained has been the private sphere.
In a modem system, the state eliminates the difference of citizenry vs. sex,
women, and slaves as a classification tool or mirror used to define a universal male
system because states viewed this as inequality. Cavarreo contends, The modern
system ignores female sexual difference by absorbing it into an abstract paradigm of
the individual which is understood as male and universal. (1998, pp35-36).
Furthermore, she argues, this hierarchical structure characterizes the strictly
political sphere which is accessible to males alone (p29). Evidently, the modern era,
that through the state of nature, which erases class and other divides between men
and women gives them all basic human rights and dignity. This basis is founded upon
a male model of the individual. The poverty of women would not sustain itself in
another sphere. This point is important for my argument because the intersectionality


48
of class, race, and gender divides the forensics community. As previously discussed,
female competitors are outnumbered in Parliamentary Debate; however, the number
of male competitors that compete in Oral Interp and Platform Events are low in
comparison to female competitors. When looking at the number of trans* competitors,
the numbers are minimal at best. This is difficult to research because I am one of the
few former competitors that is open about my trans* identity in the forensics
community.
Additionally, in the modem system (present day), there was an attempt to
reconstruct it to erase the differences among men by using the hypothesis of state of
nature by acknowledging the difference of separate but equal. It forces people to
acknowledge uniqueness. What remains after this, is a system based upon the amnesia
of sexual difference. This is how it was set-up in the modern period during which the
universal subject was constructed; however, it remains in the amnesia of sexual
difference; a radical erasure.
Cavarerro holds sexual difference as the antithesis of the current system. It
takes a precedent that our notions of modem equality are blind to differences that are
inherent to the subject that they are examining. Sexual difference is neither otiose
nor superfluous. Thus, she suggests that sexual difference has a practical purpose or
result. In articulating different views of sameness, she argues that there are two levels
of amnesia. First, in the rejection of the pre-modern conception of the universal
citizen, sexual difference is left unacknowledged and thus the universal subject is
predicated upon a masculine model. Cavarero highlights that the result of this is
clearly in the state. Consequently, women are left to assimilate into a model, which
does not accommodate for their sexual differences from men. Cavarrero argues this is


49
an example of assimilating inclusion (p37). Thus, transgender individuals voices
are silenced in the forensics community because physical appearance discrimination
creates differences that are examined solely based on the lack of inclusion that
heteronormative not only requires, but demands in any community.
The (elementary level) is one of the blindness and exclusion. This is the
invisibility of women to men in power and the ability for women to claim the
universal. The exclusionary practices of sexual difference allow for women to remain
invisible. Cavarrero contends, female sexual difference experiences the principle of
equality as an effect of exclusion and homologization. The principle of an equality
suggests that we see sexual differences as something that is a result of excluding
women in this system. Cavarrero suggests that we have already adopted a political
system (Cavarrero, 1998, p44). Maternity is the best example that adheres to the
blindness of political inequality with maternity leave and pregnancy as illness. This
is because the male subject, for whom the law is designed, does not experience
pregnancies, but only disabling physiological changes or illnesses. The phenomenon
of pregnancy comes to be adapted to the language and categories which sustain the
law (Cavarrero, 1998, p37). The legal and social implications by claiming this
universal standard makes women and their lived experiences and needs makes women
less invisible. This also suggest that sexual difference can be legitimized and social
practices have practical implications for thinking this way.
The second level is that of homogenization, sameness. Cavarrero argues that
the appeal to a sexless universal, any culture/society is a translation in figurative
terms of the sexed subject that dominates it and has developed it. (Cavarrero, 1998,
p38). Cavarrero contends that men inherently possess this quality whereas women do


50
not. She argues, When women decided to claim rights and citizenship, the
dominating political doctrine proceeds to apply this inclusive/homologizing power
already possessed by the male subject (p.37) further dividing the gender binary.
Cavarero contends that the womens fate starts here, from the very pre-cursor of her
existence. This precludes women from having any kind of a voice. Furthermore,
Cavarero argues that only by acknowledging these sexual differences can women
hope to reconstruct a socio-economic political order that will be equal for them: A
principle of equality that reflects the truth of the twoness will thus necessarily be a
principle that denies the legitimacy of the rule, in whatever shape and whatever
logical guise, of one over the other (Cavarrero. p45). Cavarrero says that you have to
essentially remove yourself from previous discourses and give up the ideal of the
modern in order to take into account the sexual difference and acknowledge the
potential of changing new discourse that would legitimize new ideals.
For trans* competitors removing yourself self from discourses in the forensics
community is no different. This is exercised when trans* competitors are faced with
what bathroom they use while sharing lodging with team members and/or what
restroom they can use at other Universities.
At or from both levels, Cavarero explains why in fact sexual difference matters.
She readily articulates why sameness and the blindness from exclusion work hand-in-
hand to divide and classify women as subjects not thriving in a one-sex system.
Cavarrero further summarizes Irigaray by arguing that [it] is not enough to free
oneself from the master in order to be free. Freedom should be founded on the
capacity of the female subject to speak herself, think herself and protect herself
(p45). Cavarrero contends that as women continue to mirror themselves in a


51
homologous way, the current system will always entail sexual difference in greater
contrast when she is identifying herself. Why does Cavarrero find the
acknowledgment of sexual difference to be crucial to the betterment of womens
lives? She argues that the construction of contemporary political power can be
attributed to the repression of sexual difference. This distinguishes how structures
of law and politics operate in society for women and men in a homologous way.
These same laws the have been used to silence the voice trans* individuals in any
community; yet, maybe extremely frightening for first time trans* competitors whom
are not familiar with how to navigate what may seem like an exclusionary forensics
community.
In contemporary discourses, language evaluates the categorization process of
identity in both the pre-modern and modern era. Linguistically, the gender binary is
the model that distinctively divides men from women. Rhetorical criticism identifies
language as a core criterion of "morality", especially in cultural hierarchies in
countries like China that reinforce the gender binary. Many may argue that this is the
mechanism responsible for hatred and unnecessary judgments in the United States.
Language has separated men and women, allowing for equality and sexual difference
to be exploited as crucial elements that have been consumed as weighing mechanisms
to evaluate the lives of others. Comparison thus yields an us-versus-them dichotomy,
and the other is both categorized and subjected to its power-dynamic. Furthermore,
this adheres to Cavareros argument that the erasure of sexual difference in the modem
era is grounded in the adoption of a masculine model as the basis for the universal
individual in relation to the state. The erasure of sexual difference leaves feminine
subjectivity unacknowledged and forgotten in favor of this universal masculine


52
persona. Cavarero defends her analysis of the basic political assumptions surrounding
individuals and their memberships in the public and private spheres, finding an
erasure that continues to work in the modern era. This is significant because it
exemplifies processes of westernized hegemony are carried over to the forensics
community when judges use physical appearance discrimination as a mechanism to
insert his/her power. It is important to note that physical appearance discrimination of
the trans* competitor, again, is difficult to prove.
Foucauldian Rhetoric
Westernized hegemonic praxis has long assumed that identities take shape to
create our own reality. United States hegemonic (coercion/control) experiences of
history have shown that the US harbors a diverse sexist culture that exploits race,
class, and gender. Foucault examines how power and control is exacerbated in his
book Discipline and Punish. Foucault is speaking to a whole system of power-
knowledge. The way in which a nation renders justice or "old punishment" has shifted
paradigms; thus, from the brash and bold execution (Foucault, 1975) style of a
guillotine to the psychoanalytical disposition of psychology that renders what is fair
and what is just. This process was coined as documentation (Foucault, 1975). This
rigid process continually emphasizes a masculine male; painting a visceral portrait of
parricides (Foucault, 1975) represented male prisoners in the early seventeenth-
century. He argues that this label added a surveillance of prisoners while observing
how old styles justice of punishment was rendered from a hierarchy to a different
form of punishment. These findings have important consequences for the broader
domain of equality and sexual difference.


53
From this position, the categorization of identity can be attributed to one of
several reasons dividing gender. Masculine subjects in the early eighteenth-century
were forced to adhere to strict discipline and regimen, an example of all human
performance observed by Foucault. The chief function of disciplinary power is to
train rather than to select and to levy or, no doubt to train and in order to levy and
select all the more" (p28). In other words, there is a standard for prisoners in which
training and discipline become a distinctive marker for identifying male subjects.
Although discipline may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of todays
concern over individuality. Through his recollection of different forms of punishment,
Foucault argues that discipline requires the male subject/individual to move his body
in various forms and shapes. Foucault contends:
The human body was entering a machinery of power that explores it, Breaks it
down and rearranges it. A political anatomy, which was also, a mechanics of
power was not only so that may do what one wish, with the techniques, the
speed and the efficiency that one determines, Thus discipline procedures and
subjected and practice bodies, docile bodies (Foucault, 1975, p.48)
Ultimately, what is most challenging is the notion that the individual becomes
of importance because his identity is constructed and categorized as a powerful entity.
He/She is disciplined now to create docile bodies into the masses, to protect and
serve. Foucault insists that the way the individual body operates is covertly controlled.
In making this comment, one can considerably argue that Foucault has conceptualized
individual human subjectivity from the framework obedience. This is significant
because it supports how equality and sexual difference has evolved over thousands of
years. Particularly, in terms of trans* issues subjectivity is an every day experience.
Embodiment is critical part of learning how categorize identity and to share inclusive
and correct language with the cisgender world. This is best evidenced in thesis when I


54
argued about "dead naming" and they way in which the cisgender world readily
acknowledges cis privilege of celebrities; however, rejects trans* pronouns, utilizing
names that were assigned at a birth as a weapon.
Bourdieu Analyses
Much like Foucault, Bourdieu appeals to the intrinsic value of human nature,
with the idea of the habitus as the driving force behind history, nature, and
embodiment. Bourdieu argues, In practice, it is the habitus, history turned into
nature, i.e., denied as such, which accomplishes practically the relating of these two
systems of relations, in and through the production of practice (p.78). For Bourdieu,
the habitus is the development of constructed understandings of the world; meaning is
developed in coordination with how we see other human beings and how they operate
within the broken system.
By focusing on the social construction of sexual orientation, however,
Bourdieu overlooks the deeper problem of biology. From this perspective, he supports
the idea that sexual identity is a choice determined by the social environment of an
individual. Trans* identity is a gender identity and not a sexual orientation. This
framework has been proven to be limiting as well as restrictive, as it silences the
transgender community. Furthermore, it divides and re-divides an already broken
gender binary by attributing social qualifiers that determine masculinity and
femininity.
Although I agree with Bourdieu up to a point, I cannot accept his overall
conclusion that gender/sexual orientation is socially constructed. Bourdieus theory is
well-supported in some respects; however, his acceptance of the traditional gender
binary does not fit within the complex structure of todays society. First, the notion of


55
a male/female binary has easily been misinterpreted as the only gender paradigm that
society has ever recognized. This has given credence to a very strict standard that has
been enculturated by an unforgiving hegemonic male driven world, consequently
placing certain criteria that measure gender performativity solely based on definition
of male/female characteristics to determine sex. Moreover, the problems associated
with identity have resulted in disagreement about the origin of our gender (hard-wired
or socially constructed). Finally, by recognizing the intersectionality of race, class,
and socioeconomics, Bourdieu has readily ignored novel approaches to gender that
are inclusive rather than exclusive. Therefore, the dichotomization of male versus
female (even the way society adopts pink for girls and blue for boys) has been a
dividing element in gender wars by creating dissonance among those who do not fit a
prescribed gender role within the strict binary.
Many in western society continue to challenge the view that gender/sexual
orientation is socially constructed. After all, many believe that social environments
are linked with acquired gender performance. Thus, arguably, the reasons for why the
gender binary was not broken during the eighteenth century can be attributed to the
lack of vocabulary. Foucault and Bourdieu did not maintain or possess the language to
classify and categorize individuals. Bourdieu, more so than Foucault, has a stronger
voice in regards to the conceptualization of the female model.
Foucault and Bourdieu are commonly wed by the philosophical ideology of
post-structuralism. This school of thought, similar to post-modernism, allows for
more critical analysis through reflection upon over-determination. For example, both
theorists deconstruct mind/body dualisms arriving at agreement about embodiment,
which is predicated upon men. However, how can Foucault address embodiment


56
without discussing gender? Specifically, he dismisses any claims centering on
women. Nevertheless, feminist scholars recognize this flaw in Foucault's argument.
One would think that Foucault would have examined the female perspective when he
addressed embodiment, as it has significance to both equality and sexual difference
(strong themes in his work). On the contrary, Bourdieu examines sexual orientation as
sexual difference. Furthermore, he argues that it is through the body that the person
becomes individualized. Despite these differences and similarities, both theorists are
woefully missing the feminine vocabulary and subject within their respective works.
The clashing of gender roles can easily be linked to other issues of social
construction, and this is where Bourdieu begins his research to show why we need to
rethink the exclusionary nature of the gender binary. Brain gender, or hard wiring
of gender performativity, is a recent term that scientists have approached from a
scientific view that affirms the notion that gender is inherently innate from the age of
3.1 would argue that this rings true because we cannot control the cognitive
behavioural patterns of children. This is significant to the person who honestly asks
what makes a three-year-old boy with no sense of sexuality want to put on a dress.
On the other hand, what makes the three-year-old girl want to play with trucks?
Children do not decide their gender roles. They do not pick the color blue and know
his/her assigned gender. Cissexual children are inherently influenced by social
constructionism because, as Bourdieu would articulate, their surroundings are
responsible for their gender performance. However, he neglects the fact that
transgender people have a gender that is not aligned with their biological sex. Because
of this, the sex-gender confusion gives people the wrong impression that this is a
choice. This erroneous belief keeps transgender people from learning gender-


57
appropriate behaviour in their formative years and making them very socially
awkward when they transition.
The exclusionary nature of the gender binary is problematic because it does
not allow those who do not fit into this script to be excluded from any kind of
discourse other than heteronormativity. The dualism created from the gender binary
has elicited a conservative ideology of how males and females should behave in
society by conforming to traditional standards of masculine or feminine behaviours.
From this social imperative, traditionalism of gender performativity was established. I
would argue that from this discourse, the division of the sexes was determined and a
social prescription was written that outlined gender roles. Historian Jo B. Paoletti
contends, The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid.
Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th
century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before
World War Iand even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out
(Paoletti, 2011). Paoletti emphasizes the significant differences in the positioning of
gender specific colors by identifying that, in the early nineteenth-century, pink was a
more red-dominant color, chosen to highlight male masculinity, whereas blue was a
much softer color that was cooler for girls. For trans* individuals who do not fit
into two color categories options are limited; however, it is not surprised that male-to-
female trans* identify with the color pink and vice-versa for female-to-male trans*
adopting the color blue.
Butler: Gender Performativity/Said: Orientalism
In her text, Gender Trouble (1990), Judith Butler looks at how gender is a
construction rather than a part of ones being. Butler contends, Sex is before the law


58
in the sense that it is culturally and politically undetermined, providing the raw
material of culture, as it were, that begins to signify only through and after in
subjection to the rules of kinship (p.50). By this, Butler means to illustrate how both
biological male/female bodies (the raw material) offer no essential role in determining
masculinity/femininity. Therefore, there is no inherent hierarchizing one gender over
another based on pure biology. However, Butler takes issue with the notion that
bodies are before the law or pure given nature. For Butler, the natural body is just
as much a construction as gender is. Gender rules do not fix onto the sexed body.
Rather, in Butlers mind, both the body and gender are always in play. The body
performs gender in varying degrees.
Similarly, Edward Said, in Orientalism, argues that Orientalism constructs the
orient as biologically inferior. The important thing to note is that Said argues that
Orientalism constructed the Orient in opposition to the Occident. In defining the East,
Orientalism also defined the West. Said defines the orient as biologically inferior,
feminine, and the object of knowledge while defining the Occident as: biologically
superior, masculine, and the producer of knowledge. This binary construction makes
colonial domination natural. Saids text is looking at literature (fiction, drama) that
describes the orient as exotic, alluring, captive; consequently, language that one
would utilize to describe a woman. Using the Orient, Foucauldian language like the
feminine body is ripe for conquest. To simply say that Orientalism was a
rationalization of colonial rule is to ignore the extent to which colonial rule was
justified in advance by Orientalism, rather than after the fact. (Said, 1978)
Both Butler and Said offer explanatory models for understanding the
construction of transgender identity. I use Butlers concept of gender performativity


59
to suggest how moving society can move society away from traditional categories,
beyond the historic division of male/female categories. Said and Butler, in the notion
that established power fixes identities, wants to hold them in one place, but the
body and gender are fluid and not fix-able. Just as the Orient cannot simply be the
Other in order to make her conquerable. Just as the body is not naturally male or
female, these too are fixatives, categories designed to secure identities to the organs.
But Butlers point is that organs only signify what culture wants them to signify. The
trans* individual knows that the body and gender categories are fluid together within
each other. Said offers a model of discourse analysis; he looks to the East versus the
West, and it is this division that can help to create gender suppression of the
transgender competitors place in society. By looking at how trans people are
described and constructed, I hope to show the artificial identity society has created
of humans like me.


60
CHAPTER VI
MEDIA AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION: FIRST CONTACT JENNER
Caitlyn Jenners new reality show, I am Cait, is a perfect example of the
problems existing in the transgender community. For people who do not know better,
it may appear on the surface that the LGBT community is supportive of all of its
members. However, if you do an in-depth analysis of the attitudes and issues in the
LGBT community, it is evident that there is less attention focused on transgender
issues. In the show I am Cait, Jenner appears to be unable to escape the limited
perspective her privilege as a wealthy, white woman has caused. This is not to say
that she is actively ignoring the issues of trans people of color or trans people in
poverty, but it can be observed through her show, and the people surrounding her, that
she surrounds herself with people who are also ignorant of transgender issues.
The media thinks that it is acceptable to disrespect the identities of transgender
individuals by listing their former name even when it is irrelevant. This practice is
commonly called dead naming, (Steinmetz, 2015) because it refers to an identity
that is dead to the transgender person in question. It is an act of aggression to deny a
transgender persons identity by the deceptive use of their name assigned at birth. It is
deceptive in all instances, because it perpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to refer
to transgender people in such a way. This practice is applied to transgender people
both living and dead, and it is inexcusable. To the living, it is a reminder that the
society in which they live will not treat them with the respect they are due. To the
decease it shows their lack of respect for the dead.
This is most poignantly illustrated with the murder of Gwen Araujo in 2002
and the subsequent trial of Jose Merel, Paul Merel, and Nicole Brown. In the trial and


61
all media coverage, Gwen was erroneously referred to by her birth name, a name that
she had legally changed two years prior to her death (Megino, 2012, ]}3) and it
obfuscated the issues surrounding the trial. There was no legitimate reason to refer to
Gwen by that name and yet the media and the legal system relished in tearing her
down by misnaming and misgendering her, constantly. We can see the parallels in
how the media is relishing using Ms. Jenners former name despite it not being
correct.
This is not a practice that is applied to cisgender people. Very few people refer
to Marilyn Monroe as Norma Jean. The same goes for Marilyn Manson, whose birth
name Brian Hugh Warner, is never referred to when discussing him. Marshal
Mathers, also known as rap star Eminem. We know why this is so: Marilyn Monroe,
Marilyn Manson became famous under these names. However, for non-famous
people, should not a level of care be applied to represent them for who they are, not
an identity that misrepresents them?
If the media stopped here, it would be bad enough, but the media perpetuates
the idea that it is acceptable to ask transgender people questions that they would never
think to ask cisgender people. These are not questions about the most salient elements
of the transgender experience such as housing, employment and public
accommodations discrimination, but intimate questions about their genitals. These are
questions that I sincerely doubt the media has ever asked a cisgender person but
somehow, decency and manners get thrown out the window when a transgender
person is sitting opposite an interviewer. So, for example, Ms. Jenner is forced to
answer questions that are not just inappropriate but prodding towards her anatomy.
Questions that should be best left to sexual partners and medical professionals.


62
So, the question remains, if transgender people and their identity is
consistently denied the most basic respect, why would we think that in such an
environment, a transgender competitor is playing on an equal playing field to her
cisgender competitors? Even from the most basic logistical issues, such as navigating
hotel accommodations to more complex issues as what restroom to use, the
transgender competitor is fraught with a logical nervousness that cannot be resolved
simply by breathing or therapy or growing in skill. Unlike their cisgender butch
lesbian competitor, trans* competitors cannot simply shed their clothes and dress in a
more conservative fashion in order to serve the prejudices and whims of the
patriarchy. It is a question of identity.
Transgender Politics
Politically, the transgender community faces innumerable challenges. From
the legal recognition of our gender or identity on documents to the right to marry, our
lives encompass a direction that is often dictated by many different sides, few of
which include transsexual people. Three main factions stand as obstacles to
transgender equality in todays society. The first group consists of leaders in the
religious right fuelled by homophobia. Their mission seems to be creating sweeping
laws and policies that hinder the constitutional rights and lives of transgender and
other marginalized people.
The second group consists of people in the gay/lesbian community often use
the transgender population as a bargaining chip to subcategorize the differences
between their less visible or fringe members (i.e., drag queen versus transsexual, pre-
op versus post-op.) This is most common in legal battles. Mainstream gay/lesbian
society seems to have little problem dropping the transgender protection from any law


63
in order to help it get passed. This is often accompanied with empty promises such as
WeTl come back for you. This debacle is evident with the Human Rights
Campaign, which claims to protect the rights of the LGBT community but refuses to
support a gender-identity-inclusive END A, which would have protected the
transgender population.
The third roadblock is comprised of transgender people who, for whatever
personal reason, de-transition and join the religious-based ex-gay movement or
similar religious organization. They work hard to limit the rights of transgender
people or people who transitioned for the wrong reasons and are thus detrimental to
other transgender people. Examples of the latter include Renee Richards, whose
disparaging remarks about transgender athletes and expressions of regret for her own
transition have been quoted by reporters from Tennis Magazine, the Associated Press,
and The New York Times'.
I wish there could have been an alternative way, but there wasnt in 1975. If
there was a drug that I could have taken that would have reduced the pressure,
I would have been better off staying the way I was a totally intact person. I
know that deep down that Im a second-class woman. I get a lot of inquiries
from would-be transsexuals, but I dont want anyone to hold me out as an
example to follow. Today there are better choices, including medication, for
dealing with the compulsion to crossdress and the depression that comes from
gender confusion. As far as being fulfilled as a woman, Im not as fulfilled as I
dream of being. I get a lot of letters from people who are considering having
this operation... and I discourage them all. (Richards, 1999)
The psychological reasons for why people do not understand the of the transgender is
two-fold: the first reason is religion and the second is the idea of being or wanting to
become a woman. This misnomer creates an unfair label that is universally applied
even in the LGBT culture. People do not understand anything but the gender binary.
Religion scares and instils a sense of fear, hell, and damnation for those who
believe in God and those who are said to practice a moral lifestyle. Heteronormativity


64
is the poster child for morality. When men are attracted to anyone else other women,
it elicits a question of moral judgment from a source that could hardly be considered
moral if it were written in our modern day world. This is greatly felt and observed by
many gay and lesbian individuals who are tom and afflicted about his/her, they, them,
or their own sexualities and sexual orientation.
To further extend my arguments, I must argue that sex is different from
gender. The definition of sex refers to ones biology, chromosomes, and genitalia.
Gender refers to ones psychological/outer gender performance. This is where the
conflation of choice and the social construction of gender arise. Who chooses to
openly undergo so many harsh criticisms, being ostracized or facing homelessness
and disinheritance? All of these are elements that I have suffered and endured in my
own experiences. Who wishes to change their eye color as if they were to wish to
change their sexual orientation? This is biological and should not be refuted. I would
also contend that our environments have a significant role in shaping our gender.
Even though I was raised traditionally, in a machismo and male-centered household, it
couldnt be denied that I imitated my mothers behaviour.
Is sexuality a choice? Can you choose or decide for yourself who you want to
be intimate with? How does our society view sexuality from the lens of the gender
binary? These are rhetorical questions that have plagued many of us at some point in
our lives. These questions ran rampant for many trans people, and unfortunately, the
labels associated with these questions are misdirected and misguided upon the trans
community. This is weapon and tool used to silence the voices of the minority by
engaging in practices of exclusion.
Transgender Athletes


65
Unlike their cisgender counterparts, transgender athletes go through an
unreasonable amount of scrutiny in order to just compete on equal footing in the
athletic world. From policies that were started from erroneous assumptions generated
during the red scare to, transgender people get the short end of the stick. In this
chapter, discuss the history of discrimination against transgender athletes and the
progress that has been made thus far in making sure transgender athletes can compete
on equal footing with their cisgender counterparts.
The standard by which we treat transgender athletes in the athletic world is
starting to become more humane and logical, with the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) adopting a more inclusive policy toward transgender athletes. Even
non-professional leagues such as the Womens Flat Track Derby Association have
gone above and beyond the IOC and created a much more inclusive gender policy.
The forensics community could, if it so desired, take a page from their playbook and
try to honestly study how they could be more inclusive of transgender rhetors.
On October 28, 2003, the IOCs Medical Commission convened in
Stockholm, Sweden, to discuss how to be more inclusive of transgender athletes in the
2004 Athens games. They came up with a policy known as the the Stockholm
Consensus that is comprised of three main requirements that the competitor must
meet in order to compete. They must (a) have had sex reassignment surgery, (b) they
must have legal recognition of their gender and (c), they must have been on hormone
replacement therapy for at least two years. While imperfect, this is a much more
progressive policy than they previously had (International Olympic Committee,
2003). For example, a transgender person may not be able to legally change their
gender in certain countries or states. Additionally, this also creates a financial litmus


66
test if a person has to pay for certain aspects of their transition, the most expensive of
which can sex reassignment surgery.
We know that if Caitlyn Jenner had tried to compete for the medal in 1978 and
had tried in her true identity instead of being identified as Bruce Jenner, she would
not have been able to compete according to the IOC rules at the time. In 1966, the
International Association of Athletics Federation started requiring female athletes to
undergo gender tests because they suspected that Communist countries were
disguising male athletes as females for the Olympic games. After a full examination
in the nude with a gynaecologist, they were given a Certificate of Femininity.
(Ferguson, 2015)
The integrity of the practice is questionable, and rests on outdated muting of
the gender binary. To require trans* woman to perform an exam to prove womanhood
only reinforces discriminatory language and prejudice. This disgusting practice was
even satirised on the television show Futurama where a robot named Bender
performed in the female section of a bending contest for his fictional country,
Robonia, just to win Olympic medals. Once it came time for the competitors to
undergo a gender test, Bender begged Professor Farnsworth to change his sex so he
could win the medal. (Purdum & Rowe, 2003)


67
Figure 2: Bender in Futurama, after passing the gender test.
What is more interesting though, is that a non-professional sports league,
made up of teams that make no salary and are full of volunteers who play and judge
for the fun of it, has a much more progressive policy than the IOC. The Womens Flat
Track Derby Association (WFTDA), a league of non-professional athletes who
participate in competitive roller derby, has a much more progressive gender policy
than does the IOC. Whereas the IOC requires that a competitor must meet the
requirements of the Stockholm Consensus, the WFTDA only requires a competitor to
provide a letter from her physician affirming her gender. There is no stated surgical or
endocrinological requirement for the competitor to meet.
Gender Performance
The patriarchy has some rigid ideas about how women and men are supposed
to act. Multiple forces come together to create a false impression that gender and sex
are one in the same, those forces including capitalism, the patriarchy, and religion.


68
According to Kate Bornstein, in an interview with Mandy van Deven of Herizons
magazine:
[The] value of breaking the gender binary will be to use what weve learned to
help break down the false binaries masking hierarchal vectors of oppression
namely age, race, class, religion, looks, ability, language, citizenship, family
and reproductive status and sexuality. We did something really smart with
gender and we did it while having a whole lot of fun. Now its our job to help
do that with all those other isms. (2011)
A transition to a persons actual gender may be impossible for transgender
competitors due to several factors from without, but there is also one factor that is
within the transgender community poisoning it from its roots. The World Professional
Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), an organization whose principal
activities are to define standards by which the transgender community can access
critical health care, has developed an incredibly pedantic set of requirements that are
largely accepted by the medical community that compromises the integrity of both the
medical and psychological communities. Those requirements are called the
Standards of Care and it is near impossible to get even the most basic health care in
the United States, Canada, and Europe without jumping through its hoops. It gives
psychologists the authority to stop medical treatment and many times creates a need
for transgender patients to lie to mental health professionals or not address issues in
order to continue to receive medical care. This compromises the trust that a patient
should have with both her physician and her therapist.
There have been efforts by some physicians to open some medical care under
less restrictive requirements. Tom Waddell of San Francisco came up with the
Waddell Standards which are used by many different clinics to this day and allow
easier access to hormone replacement therapy.
Identity Politics, Perception and Our Values


69
In this thesis, I have discussed the campaigns of Sarah Palin and Herman Cain,
in contrast to the campaigns and political lives of Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Both political parties have run candidates on the national stage that are members of a
minority, but we can see a clear difference when we analyze the minority political
candidates on the national stage and compare them against their counterparts in the
other party.
Whereas Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are serious candidates that are
formidable and have an air of integrity, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain objectively do
not. Sarah Palin was full of scandal that she did not disclose to the McCain campaign
when she was being vetted. Examples include her husbands membership in the
Alaskan Independence Party, the situation with Trooper Michael Wooten (effectively
known as Troopergate) and the flip flop on the Bridge to Nowhere. Herman Cains
campaign was essentially a joke campaign given the number of times he made
references to pop culture media in speeches and campaign promises that were
supposed to be serious in nature and delivered with a sober tone.
These completely different people on both sides of the political field show the
differences of perception of the minority communities to which these two people
belonged. The fact that the Republicans nominated and supported candidates who
were objectively inept at their job shows how they view African-Americans and
women. Perception is important, and the media informs public perception of any
minority.
Transgender people are also victims of this. Transgender women have a harder
time adhering to a cisgender standard of beauty and it can have a silencing effect on
their voices. Especially in high school and college, where a trans competitor may not


70
have the finances nor the agency to undergo a complete transition, unlike someone
like Caitlyn Jenner. As previously discussed, a vast majority of the United States
being religious, this may negatively impact a transgender persons ability to transition
while in school either because they are a minor or because they are receiving financial
assistance from their parents while in college.


71
CHAPTER VII
TRANSGENDER COMPETITORS IN THE FORENSICS COMMUNITY
In this final section, I will define the forensics community then I will look into
data and introduce a qualitative survey given to participants at Colorado College on
October 24-26, 2014 and also given to high school participants at Overland High
School on February 8, 2015. The data collected from this survey indicates that over
44% of participants surveyed were slightly comfortable and 24% were uncomfortable
with discussing and judging transgender competitors in the forensics community.
What this represents is one out of four participants surveyed were uncomfortable with
working with transgender competitors in the forensics community.
Next, I will address the authentic self versus the inauthentic self and how
that mirrors my own struggles as a competitor and judge in the forensics community.
Finally, I will examine the judges role describing my own experience as a judge for
15 years in the high school and college forensics communities.
Defining the Forensics Community
Survey results from all respondents
Neutral
Comfortable
- Slightly Comfortable
Uncomfortable
41%


72
Refer to the individual survey responses in the appendix.
COACH
QUESTION PARTICIPANT RESPONSE JUDGE COMPETITOR
"Do transgender competitors have a fair or unfair advantage as competitors in the debate community?" P#7: "Unfair. Judges might feel distracted. They could perceive incorrectly due to bias or more likely, misinterpretation." STUDENT
"Describe how comfortable you feel if you had a transgender teammate?" P#33: "I am not certain. I do not have any transgender teammates, and I understand that relationships have a way of changing you. Thus, I must speculate that I would be uncomfortable at first." STUDENT
"Are there issues around LGBTQQIA Debate competitors which you would like further training? P#16: "I'd like to learn more about the person affects of the LGBT community in Debate." JUDGE/ COACH
Authentic Self vs. Inauthentic Self
Transition for transgender persons acknowledges that the socio-cultural reality
of life begins a new phase in his/her new body. For example, Fred lived as Fred for
22 years. Fred has five fingers, five toes, can walk and talk. Once Fred becomes
Sue, she must learn how to navigate the world in a new lens. Sues socio-cultural
experiences become real in her new body. It is important to note that Sue is now only
a few weeks into her new transition. Sue is still a socio-cultural infant having
surmised her outlook in everyday praxis through her given and categorized identity.
This is significant because the cisgender lens must take at look at age and think back


73
to how old you were when you begin to see life post-puberty. Positing the immature
and unthinkable reactions to societal problems. This is also false.
Under the cisgender method of thought, this may seem true, but Sue was never
Fred because one important point to understand is that transgender identity is
retroactive. Sue was never Fred; she was pretending to be Fred in a society that fails
to understand the idiosyncrasies of transgender identity. This is why activists use
terms such as coercively assigned male at birth. According to Jessica Sideways
(2014, ]fl5), what we do know is that people choose to change their sex when they
feel that they cannot live comfortably or genuinely as a member of their birth sex.
Survey Analysis
During the process of gathering participants to complete the anonymous
survey, I found the process to be incredibly challenging. First, I felt they questioned
my presence as a judge in the forensics community. Secondly, I was not sure if the
participants would take the survey seriously. At the end of both debate and oral
interpretation rounds, I asked competitors if they would feel comfortable completing a
survey for my research for this thesis. Surprisingly, all the competitors in my rounds
completed the survey. It became increasingly difficult to resist reading the survey
responses during my next rounds. However, it was important to resist in order to
avoid creating a bias when judging the remaining rounds of the tournament.
It was my experience that the judges were more hesitant than competitors to
complete my survey as evidenced by my inability to receive the judges surveys until
four months later. The judging community is comprised of previous debate
competitors, retired teachers and a small cadre of people from the community who


74
have judged for years. Only two coaches, at both tournaments, have completed the
surveys and other judges became hesitant after reading the questions.
One of the limitations of my own research is that I did not address housing for
transgender competitors while competing in tournaments far away, and this issue is
still unresolved. For future research, I would like to look at how and why compulsory
heterosexuality not only requires but demands gender performance based on sexual
orientation while housed. I leave you with this last rhetorical question, where does the
transgender competitor lay her or his head after twelve rounds of debate and sixteen
rounds of interp at a national debate tournament?


75
CHAPTER VIII: CONCLUSION
In this thesis, I have addressed the importance of the transgender forensics
competitor and why their voices have been silenced on a multi-factorial level. I have
demonstrated transphobia and strengthened this issue with self-reflexive
autoethnography. I have looked at scholars such as Foucault, Butler, Swartz, Said,
Fields and Birkholt, arriving at how contemporary issues force us all to examine our
own privilege.
Future Scholarship
I would like to wish future transgender competitors an open invitation to read
about my experiences and learn from them. I would also caution future transgender
competitors about the demand for compulsory heterosexuality and cissexuality in the
forensics community and our every day lives.
When you, the instructor or professor, posit the question What does the
transgender competitor look like? I can officially say, she is me.


76
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Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans (p 246). N.p.: Wiley.


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82
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83
VIII. APPENDIX
APPENDIX A KEY TERMS
Cisgender/Cissexual a person who feels that their birth sex aligns with the gender
they were assigned at birth.
Debate Community an elite collegiate/high school community in which participants
all across the country and the world engage/compete in rhetorical discourse.
Forensics a community that engages in oral performance; including: policy debate
platform events, and Interpretation Events.
Heteronormativity praxis of the heterosexual community at large
Passing Privilege those who can quietly assimilate into the dominant culture
narrative.
Social Construction the construction of gender performance in the current binary.
Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (or TERF) A person who pretends to be a
feminist while fighting to deny the recognition of the identities of and civil rights for
transgender people.
Transgender an individual whose assigned gender no longer aligns with
acquired/desired or current gender presentation.
Transphobia the fear of or a dislike directed towards trans people, or a fear of or
dislike directed towards their perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics, whether or
not any specific trans person has that lifestyle or characteristic. The dislike does not
have to be so severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from
doing something because they do not like trans people. (Crown Prosecution Service,
2007)


Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 1 of2
Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the
Debate Community
The National Communication Association is excited to do a panel at the 100th Annual NCA
Convention in Chicago with the University of Colorado Denver. To maximize our time together,
we've created a short survey to better understand your needs around working with students who
identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. All
information provided is confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of presenting at NCA
this survey is voluntary and your input is greatly appreciated. All data collected from the survey will
be kept confidential.
** Transgender -- an person or persons born male/female at birth; however, transitions to their
desired gender
** GLBTQI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex indentified individual
** Ally a person or persons who is an ally/friendly representative of the GLBTQI community
* Required
Question 1 *
Do transgender competitors have a fair of an unfair advantage as competitors in the debate
community? For example, would judges rank them differently? Explain.
IW&j 3^ - fee 2I
i*
Question 3 *
Please describe how comfortable you are working with transgender competitors around issues
relating to their sexual orientation.
I-! Uncomfortable
Yt^-Slightly Uncomfortable
f"; Neutral
[I Slightly Comfortable
n Comfortable
) Question 4
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzdlpJLVRobjYO... 10/23/2014


Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 2 of 2
| Please describe how comfortable you are with addressing/discussing GLBTQI issues on your team or
| at your University.
| [~i Uncomfortable
j
I- Slightly Uncomfortable
Neutral
[I Slightly Comfortable
^^Comfortable
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Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
i
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzdlpJLVRobjYO... 10/23/2014


me 1
ransgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 1 of2
Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the
Debate Community
The National Communication Association is excited to do a panel at the 100th Annual NCA
Convention in Chicago with the University of Colorado Denver. To maximize our time together,
we've created a short survey to better understand your needs around working with students who
identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. All
information provided is confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of presenting at NCA
this survey is voluntary and your input is greatly appreciated. All data collected from the survey will
be kept confidential.
** Transgender -- an person or persons born male/female at birth; however, transitions to their
desired gender
** GLBTQI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex indentified individual
** Ally a person or persons who is an ally/friendly representative of the GLBTQI community
| Question 1 *
j Do transgender competitors have a fair of an unfair advantage as competitors in the debate
community? For example, would judges rank them differently? Explain.
Question 3 *
Please describe how comfortable you are working with transgender competitors around issues
relating to their sexual orientation.
n Uncomfortable
i
; f" Slightly Uncomfortable
I n Neutral
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| Kj Comfortable
Required
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Describe how comfortable you feel if you had a transgender teammate? Explain.
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https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzd 1 pJLVRobj YO... 10/23/2014


Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 1 ot i
Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the
Debate Community
The National Communication Association is excited to do a panel at the 100th Annual NCA
Convention in Chicago with the University of Colorado Denver. To maximize our time together,
we've created a short survey to better understand your needs around working with students who
identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. All
information provided is confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of presenting at NCA
this survey is voluntary and your input is greatly appreciated. All data collected from the survey will
be kept confidential.
** Transgender -- an person or persons born male/female at birth; however, transitions to their
desired gender
** GLBTQI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex indentified individual
** Ally a person or persons who is an ally/friendly representative of the GLBTQI community
* Required
Question 1 *
Do transgender competitors have a fair of an unfair advantage as competitors in the debate
community? For example, would judges rank them differently? Explain.
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Please describe how comfortable you are working with transgender competitors around issues
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! Question 4
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzdlpJLVRobjYO... 10/23/2014


v^uinpeutor in the Debate Community
Page 2 of 2
Please describe how comfortable you are with addressing/discussing GLBTQI issues on your team or
at your University.
Uncomfortable
I-1 Slightly Uncomfortable
n Neutral
[I Slightly Comfortable
FpComfortable
| Question 5 *
j Are there issues around working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning,
Intersex and Ally debtate competitors about which you would like further training, education, or
discussion? Please name them.
Question 6 *
Is there anything seise that you like to say about transgender competitors in the debate community?
1 Submit |
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Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 1 of2
Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the
Debate Community
The National Communication Association is excited to do a panel at the 100th Annual NCA
Convention in Chicago with the University of Colorado Denver. To maximize our time together,
we've created a short survey to better understand your needs around working with students who
identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. All
information provided is confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of presenting at NCA
this survey is voluntary and your input is greatly appreciated. All data collected from the survey will
be kept confidential.
I
j ** Transgender an person or persons born male/female at birth; however, transitions to their
| desired gender
j ** GLBTQI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex indentified individual
' ** Ally a person or persons who is an ally/friendly representative of the GLBTQI community
! Required
i
i
| Question 1 *
\ Do transgender competitors have a fair of an unfair advantage as competitors in the debate
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Question 4
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzd 1 pJLVRobj Y0... 10/23/2014


Page 2 of 2
__.wu. X 11V 1 1 misgenaer Competitor in the Debate Community
Please describe how comfortable you are with addressing/discussing GLBTQI issues on your team or
at your University.
n Uncomfortable
; f Slightly Uncomfortable
f~| Neutral
fl Slightly Comfortable
ECi. Comfortable
Question 5 *
Are there issues around working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning,
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discussion? Please name them.
Question 6 *
Is there anything seise that you like to say about transgender competitors in the debate community?
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1 Submit |
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Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 2 of 2
Please describe how comfortable you are with addressing/discussing GLBTQI issues on your team or
at your University.
I- Uncomfortable
f-: Slightly Uncomfortable
Neutral
[I Slightly Comfortable
R Comfortable
Question 5 *
Are there issues around working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning,
Intersex and Ally debtate competitors about which you would like further training, education, or
discussion? Please name them.
Question 6 *
Is there anything else that you like to say about transgender competitors in the debate community?

M


1 Submit
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Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 1 of2
Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the
Debate Community
The National Communication Association is excited to do a panel at the 100th Annual NCA
Convention in Chicago with the University of Colorado Denver. To maximize our time together,
we've created a short survey to better understand your needs around working with students who
identify as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. All
information provided is confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of presenting at NCA
this survey is voluntary and your input is greatly appreciated. All data collected from the survey will
be kept confidential.
** Transgender an person or persons born male/female at birth; however, transitions to their
j desired gender
I ** GLBTQI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex indentified individual
I ** Ally a person or persons who is an ally/friendly representative of the GLBTQI community
I Required
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i Do transgender competitors have a fair of an unfair advantage as competitors in the debate
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Question 4
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNaaEFvQjZzdlpJLVRobjYO... 10/23/2014


Forensics: The Transgender Competitor in the Debate Community
Page 2 of 2
Please describe how comfortable you are with addressing/discussing GLBTQI issues on your team or
at your University.
I- Uncomfortable
j fl Slightly Uncomfortable
Neutral
fl Slightly Comfortable
1>3 Comfortable
Question 5 *
Are there issues around working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning,
Intersex and Ally debtate competitors about which you would like further training, education, or
discussion? Please name them.
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j Submit j
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Full Text

PAGE 1

THE TRANSGENDER COMPETITOR: DEBATE COMMUNITY PRACTICES By SAVANNAH SHEREE SANBURG B.A., Metropolitan State University of Denver, 2013 B.S., Colorado State University, 1998 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in fulfillment of the requirements of the Masters of Humanities and Social Sciences 2015

PAGE 2

ii This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Savannah Sheree Sanburg has been approved for the Humanities and Social Sciences Program by Omar Swartz, Chair Sarah Fields Marty Birkholt Date: December 5, 2015

PAGE 3

iii Sanburg, Savannah S. (MSS, Social Sciences) The Transgender Competitor: Debate Community Practices Thesis Directed By Associate Professor Omar Swartz ABSTRACT The politics surrounding sexual orientation within the forensics community reinforces a binary that compromises fairness. In recognizing the differences in gender perfo rmance and the social construction of sexual orientation in the forensics community, the realm of debate and competitive sportsmanship finds an unacknowledged and unheard voice. From this process, we can begin to understand the needs of students who identi fy as transgender and/or are exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. There is a lacuna in scholarship on transgender debate competitors that my research aims to fill. This thesis consists of a critical analysis of gender via theory. This will allow me to contextualize the empirical data of the following: a qualitative survey of (1) High School and Collegiate Speech and Debate students in the Colorado Region and (2) a qualitative survey of Judges and Coaches from the High School and College Speech and Debate Association in the Rocky Mountain Region. Judges privilege traditional notions of heteronormative masculinity, potentially ranking competitors differently and increasing the risk factor for transgender competitors to lose a round, hinde ring their ability to compete long term, thus having the effect of alienating them from the forensics community. This thesis challenges heteronormative gender performativity and addresses how the forensics community fails to address transphobia. Through the practice of autoethnography, I will explain how my own experiences have been influenced by my

PAGE 4

iv involvement in the forensics community prior to and after my transition. As both a competitor and judge, I am familiar with the cultural differences that are noticeable in a forensics competition. Thus, debate community practices and procedures are performed by competitors that are discouraged from expressing their authentic gender identity in favour of a more heteronormative, cis centric inauthentic self so that they may survive in the forensic community. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Omar Swartz

PAGE 5

v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTR ODUCTION 1 Research Question Statement of the Problem....................8 II. TRANSPHOBIA: THE WRATH OF THE TERF .........12 III. AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: THE SEARCH FOR SAVANNAH............................ 24 Personal Narrative 26 Becoming Savannah..................27 IV. POLITICS AND SATIRE: THE VOYAGE HOME ..34 Literature Review 34 Women in Debate..36 V. EQUALITY AND SEXUAL DIFFERENCE: FIRST CONTACT (JENNER) 43 Defining Equality and Sexual Difference Adriana Cavarrero ............43 Fo ucauldian Rhetoric.... 52 Bourdieu Analyses.................... 53 Butler: Gender Performance/Said: Or i entalism............................56 VI. MEDIA & PUBLIC PERCEPTION .. 58 Transgender Politics. 60 Transgender Athlet es ............... 62 Gender Performance. 65 Identity Politics, Our Values & Perception .. 66 VII. TRANSGENDER COMPETITORS IN THE FORENSICS COMMUNITY... 68 Defining the Forensics Community .. 68

PAGE 6

vi Authentic Self versus Inauthentic Self 69 Survey Ana lyses....70 VIII. CONCLUSION.. 72 Future Scholarship.72 WORKS CITED..............................................................................................................7378 APPENDIX ...79 A. Participant s Survey...80124

PAGE 7

CHAPTER I I NTRODUCTION Historical perspectives have given people the opportunity to see how society adapts to change. From the brash pride of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixons presidential inaugural debate debut on September 26, 1960, the world had a detailed glimpse of its first televised debate. During this debate, viewers began comparing and contrasting the physical appearance of the candidates. According to Kayla Webley (2010) Nixon performed much better in the subsequent debates (and appeared better thanks to the "milkshake diet" his aides put him on to fatten him up). However, it was elucidated in Webleys interview with Alan Schroeder, a media, the damage had already been done. To quote Schroeder, You couldn't wipe away the image people had seared in their brains from the first debate. ( Webley, 2010, 5), Kennedy even acknowledged the role that the televised debate had in his victory. On Novemb er 12th he said, It was the TV more than anyt hing else that turned the tide. Little did we know, then and now, that televised presidential debates would become a crucial factor in the history of American politics. Televised presidential debates would continue for the next generation starting with Jimmy Carter, despite the reticence of Richard Nixon and other presidential candidates to participate in them (Greene,2012, 3). The televised debate gives viewers a perspective in which they can critique the better debater and gain more of an insight on how they would handle the j ob of president. After all, being able to answer questions that candidates do not expect is the closest thing that the public can experience with regards to how a presidential candidate may react to events that also come in an unexpected order. Kennedys first debate revealed a confident and strong leader determined to win, a real challenger against the experienced Vice President Nixon. However,

PAGE 8

2 Geraldine Ferraro was generally chucked in the bin after the Mondale/Ferraro ticket lost. Unlike Sarah Palin, s he didnt have the ability or desire to cash in on a litany of inane rantings with reality television shows and ghostwritten books. A ccording to Steve Kornacki : Generally, defeated vice presidential candidates are automatically considered prime contenders for their partys next open presidential nomination: Sarah Palin after 2008, John Edwards after 2004, Joe Lieberman after 2000, and so on. Even Jack Kemp, his political career briefly resurrected when Bob Dole unexpectedly added him to the Republican ticke t in August 1996, was talked up as a 2000 prospect after that campaign, even if his dull performance on the campaign trail soured many Republicans on the idea of making him a future standard bearer. ( 2011, ) In 1984, the first female vice presidenti al candidate, Ferraro, ran on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale, giving America its first glance at female Presidential candidates. Ferraro gave established its first view of the glass ceiling for women in the poli tical arena because prior to Ferraro s bid, women were consider as an option for such powerful political prestige. While the Democratic Party ran its own female VP candidate, would sexism still be enough of an issue to ruin the Mondale/Ferraro ticket? The Democratic Party broke its own glass ceiling on female VP candidates in 1984, 24 years before the Republican Party would do the same. In 2008, America had the first chance to see a televised debate that included a female presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. The value of Kornackis resear ch is that without womens contribution in politics, we would not have a historical framework to build upon and reach the conclusion that physical appearance discrimination is evident for marginalized groups who do not fit the dominant cultural physical sc ript. U.S. politics is woefully unrepresentative of the population of the country. The majority of Americans are neither white, male, rich, nor attorneys, yet this is the overwhelming majority of both

PAGE 9

3 chambers of the legislature. Additionally, few candidat es serving in either the U.S. executive, legislative or judicial branches of government that practice anything other than Judaism or Christianity when, the percentages of the American population are mirrored and accurately represented in Congress, 8 should be Jewish, 8 should be agnostics, 8 should be atheists, 4 should be Buddhists, 4 should be Muslims and 24 should be unaffiliated secularists (Pew Research Center, 2015). However, according to Masci and Miller of the Pew Research Center (2008), 97.7% of Congress people practice some denomination of Christianity or Judaism, with 3 members claiming to be of an othe r faith, two being Buddhist. T wo being Muslim with five who did not specify their religious beliefs, this falls quite short of what we should expect of an equally balanced Congress that mirrors the views of the American people. Lynn Conway is a professor emerita of the University of Michigan and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She has worked for IBM, Memorex, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre and at the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She is a strong academic in computer science and has been in transition for decades. In 2001, she started to do research on the prevalence of transgender people because the numb er that the American Psychological Associated cites as the prevalence are, in fact, inaccurate. Despite t he fact that there are likely 1 in 200 people "with strong TG feelings" and are likely to conduct a TG transition, (Conway, 2001) and 1:500 have "int ense TS feelings" and are likely to conduct a TS transition, (Conway, 2001), at least two members of the House of Representatives should have strong TG feelings and one should have intense TS feelings if the House of Representatives were truly

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4 repres entative of th e population of America. Conway defines TG transition and TS transition as: Some fraction of the transgender crossdressers [sic] moving through this comm unity will go on to transition and take on a full time social role as women. Of these, some will complete a TG transition (without SRS), obtain new ID's, and live as women afterwards. A smaller group will complete a TS transition by also having SRS. In the United States those who complete a TS transition can in most states take on full legal status as women (updating their birth certificates, being able to marry men, adopt children, etc). (5, 2001) In the State of Colorado, a trans* individual could have his/her identity documents changed through an i ncredibly bureaucratic process requiring two trips to the DMV (one to get the form and one to submit the form) and a trip to the physici an to sign the form. For persons born in California, the process of correcting your birth certificate was insensitive of the relevant law s in places where transgender people might live. For example, until 2014, to get your birth certificate corrected, you would have to go to the Superior Court where you live for a court order for the Department of Vital Records to correct your birth certificate pursuan t to California law. While this might not be a problem for those still living in California, what of the transgender person who lived in Colorado? The California courts interpreted the law to mean that any state could issue such an order but many states re fused to interpret California law in their own courts. However, on the 8th of October 2013, Governor Brown made it so that the Division of Vital Records could take administrative action in this regard (Steichmann, 2013) The forensics community has been notorious for breeding lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, and accomplished people outside of the debate world. This is observed by Kathryn Thomas, who works for Senator Bernie Sanders as an environmental research assistance. Thomas graduated from Southern Illi nois University after successfully

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5 competing in the forensics community four years. United States Colonel Joshua Seefried competed in forensics in the U.S. Air Force Academy and has published his memoirs as an openly gay air force cadet and gives talks acr oss the United States. Kevin Garner owns his own marketing firm after competing and coaching at Texas Tech University for the past ten years. Garner has successfully won national championships in the National Parliamentary Debate Association in 2006. Past competitors become involved at the highest levels of politics as politicians or lobbyists. The power of forensics community and its effect on public policy and legislation is can be correlated with the experiences gained by forensic competitors in the ear ly years of their education. This is supported by Thomas' current research and her experience as a policy debater now writing for Senator Sanders focusing specifically on her advanced education and studies an Environmental law attorney. This thesis will utilize thre e major research strategies: (1) a critical analysis of gender via theory. This will allow us to contextualize the empirical data of the following: (2 ) a qualitative analysis of High School and Collegiate Sp eech and Debate students and (3) a qu alitative analysis of Judges and Coaches from the High School and College Speech and Debate Association. This thesis is situated theoretically in the works of: Michel Foucault, whose work looks at the construction or surveillance of gender to gain a clear understanding of the gender binary; Omar Swartz, who demonstrates the need to rethink how language is critical in education through his analyses on social justice and its importance to pedagogy. These theorists offer a particular perspective in social justice that helps frame a theoretical scope of equality for people experiencing sexual difference in American politics. Media perception and experiences have given evidence to how our society lacks an appropriate, sensible

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6 perspective and how the notions of physical appearance and discrimination have operated in small narrow hallway that acknowledges the intersectionality of race, class, and gender as competing paradigms in the forensics community. Forensics competitor Alyssa Reid shares her open experience as a lesbian identified competitor in her thesis in 2012. Reid distinguishes her challenges and obstacles that she faced as a participant whom understand the intricacies of physical appearance and its direct correlatio n to community practices. Reid argues: [w]hy would I want to be like everyone else? It seemed counterintuitive to be the best at being the most like everyone else. Assaulting my choice to wear ties to tournaments or otherwise was more than an affront to my sheer vanity and uniqueness. It was a n attack on my identity, gender, and personal history. I stood my ground for years, until one day when I decided to wear pearls with a conservative camisole underneath a pearlescent light blue skirt suit to the American Forensic Association (2012, p37) Rei ds experience as a lesbian forensics competitor and choosing not to adopt the traditionally conservative rubric of the debate dress code (as suits/ties, for men, and for wome n, dresses/suits) that is often associated with a female gender identity, opting for a more masculine form of dress, which was something she found useful and allowed Reid flexibility in her experiences as a forensics competitor. However, for Reid, she admittedly recognized that her physical appearance as a more an drogynous competitor cost her advancement in many tournaments that could have earned her more prestigious awards, not because of her arguments but by having the temerity to challenge the presentation of her own gender identity. Practices and procedures are performed by competitors who enact gender segregation by reinforcing traditional gender roles, which elicit and practice obvious gender binary roles. Reid argues: Like any organizational culture there are explicit and implicit rules (norms). Forensic comp etition follows rules that are primarily established by national

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7 organizations and by tournament directors for local tournaments and forensic culture is perpetuated through many rituals and norms. The forensic world is its own cultural microcosm filled with demanding norms that dictate how performers should look and act. Intercollegiate forensics is in fact so shrouded in norms that often competitors and critics treat the norms as juridical doctrine. (4, 2012) Reids description of the forensics community is definitive of her observations as a competitor and intersects with her own sexual orientation as a lesbian. The limitation with Reids analysis is that only parts of it apply to those that are identified as transgender. Even so, the experience of compet ing in the forensics community is vastly different for a cisgender gay or lesbian competitor than it would be for competitors that identify as transgender. Cisgender gay and lesbian competitors are more acclimated and secure in their gender identity and less often worry about discrimination based on gender identity or expression than would a transgender competitor. This can be especially true for competitors at the high school level who may have less support at home and less agency to seek out medical inter vention, thus being on the receiving end of more discrimination based on their gender identity. I hope to reach the problem of exclusion in the forensics community for tran sgender competitors and address some of the social stigma already given to trans* co mpetitors by default. Hopefully, this will allow for more fairness in forensics judging. Research Question Is there a negative perception of transgender competitors within the high school and college speech and forensics community? Do judges rank them differently? I contend, as it currently stands in the status quo, the forensics community privileges traditiona l performances of heterosexual masculinity and femininity,

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8 allowing discrimination based on physical appearance to unfairly impose inequalities predicated upon sexual difference. Statement of the Problem Transgender competitors encounter a double bind upon entry into the forensics community by being faced with transphobia and male competitive sportsmanship, creating an us versus them society that can easily influence and change the judges ballots at the end of the round causing the trans* competitor to lose the round. Physical appearances of transgender competitors potentially can create a bias that can de detrimental to the competitor, silencing his/her voice in the forensics community. Transgender people suffer from prejudice in the forensics community due to factors that exist in the larger community. The forensics community does not exist in a bubble, and people come to the table with their own values, ideals, and perceptions. While this is an asset for forensics because arguments in debate should stand or fall on their own merit, it can be detrimen tal for someone who does not enjoy cisgender privilege. This is significant because members that represent the forensics community have traditionally achieved great success, becoming congressmen and women in American politics as well as lawyers and judges. Their experiences and voices can be a vital part of a working and growing community, if the members of this community can understand cis privilege. I demonstrate the disenfranchisement of transgender peo ple within the forensics community Through analysis of survey respondents, analogous to the disenfranchisement of transgender a thletes such as Caitlyn Jenner. This disenfranchisement has a negative impact on the transgender community, the forensics commu nity overall, and society at large for several very important reasons that I will discuss in detail in Chapter V.

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9 As members of the forensics community gain positions of power and privilege, a flawed understanding of transgender people can have a negative impact on public policy. When using language that is harmful toward transgender people without thinking of the rhetorical ramifications, rhetors as opinion leaders due to their success, often plant the seeds of prejudice in the minds of well meaning but illinformed people. In this thesis, I will first address the issue of transphobia and how it impacts the transgender competitor in the forensics community. Does she or he stand a chance in the eyes of a critic who may discriminate against that competitor based on either transphobia or physical appearance? This is an important issue that needs to both be explored and assessed in order to accurately assess the impact on the transgender competitor. In the next chapter, I will examine my own personal narrati ve in self reflexive autoethnography. The purpose of self reflexive autoethnography is to bring my personal experiences as both a transgender competitor and a judge to assess my perspective on transphobia and how transgender competitors are perceived in the forensics community. I can also attest to how lonely it was to transition at such a young age and be one of the few transgender competitors in the field. In C hapter V : Equa lity and Sexual Difference, I go in depth with theory examining how gender plays a role in h ow competitors are assessed and how their identities are perceived I include theorists such as Foucault, Bourdieu, Butler and Said that touch upon and categorize identities in our cissexist world. In Chapter V I : Media and Public Perception, I discuss gender performance and how cissexist, heteronormative presentations of gender negatively impact the

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10 expression of variant gender identities. This is further analyzed when we discuss physical appearance discrimination and how a trans* competitors might be negatively impac ted in the early stages of his/her transition and how issues such as lack of familial support and lack of assistance financing the most effective procedures in transition severely harm the transgender rhetor. I then wrap the chapt er discussing identity politics, our values and perception and how that impacts the transgender rhetor. Before we conclude, we must tie all of these points back together with how the transgender rhetor is impacted. In Chapter V I I we first define the fore nsics community. Then we discuss the experiences of transgender competitors and we introduce a qualitative survey of competitors and judges that explores LGBT issues, focusing on transgender issues. We then discuss the authentic self versus the inauthentic self, performing a foucauldian analysis of transgender competitor s in the forensics community and the choices that he/she would have to make. We then finally discuss the judges role and their potential biases, which may cost the transgender competitor s a trophy that they might have otherwise earned if was not for transphobia and physical appearance discrimination. This thesis aims to address the silenced voices of trans* competitors by speaking to the experiences that I have faced. Additionally, by acknowledging transphobia as a systemic problem in our society, but more specifically, in the forensics community, the goal of this thesis is to explore why transphobia is a problem and possibly how trans* competitors can begin to engage in discourse that

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11 would eventually allow for a more inclusive community. In the next chapter, I will address what is transphobia and how it is pervasive in the status quo.

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12 CHAPTER I I TRANSPHOBIA: THE WRATH OF THE TERF Transgender people suffer from prejudice in the forensics community due to factors that exist in the larger community. While this is an asset for forensics because arguments in debate should stand or fall on their own merit, it can be detrimental for someone who does not enjoy cisgender privilege. This is significant because members that represent the forensics community have traditionally achieved great success, becoming congressmen and women in American politics as well as lawyers and judges. Their experiences and voices can be a vital part of a working and growing community, if the members of this community can gain understanding of cis privilege. I can demonstrate the disenfranchisement of transgender people from the forensics community through analysis of survey respondents, analogous to the disenfranchisement of transgender a thletes such as Caitlyn Jenner. This disenfranchisement has a negative impact on the tran sgender community, the forensics community overall, and society at large for several very important reasons that I will discuss in detail. The best and most comprehensive defin ition I could find of transphobia comes from the British Crown Prosecution Servi ce, (2007) as a dislike or fear of transgender people but also includes doing something or abstaining from doing something because a person does not like transgender people. The reason we must look to the Commonwealth for even a definition is that transphobia is not taken seriously in the United States, as shown by narratives that are pushed about transgender people in this country. These narratives include the disrespectful attitude towards Caitlyn Jenner just for being transgender to organized movements a ctive opposing the equal rights and

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13 safety of transgender people such as the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (or TERF) Forensics competitors are ranked and judged mostly by three factors in competition, their performance, their presentation, and the judge. While they can control the first and second with more difficulty and money, the third is completely out of their control. If a transgender competitor faces a judge that is transphobic, their passing privilege may be the difference between a high r anking ballot and a low ranking ballot. In this chapter, I will discuss transphobia in relation to current events, such as the coming out of Caitlyn Jenner and comparing that to the lived experience of transgender women in the real world. I also touch on f actors that negatively impact the transgender community such as physical appearance discrimination, trans exclusionary radical feminists, (TERFs) the American Psychiatric Associations miscalculation of the prevalence of transgender people, and the flawed cisgender perception of how the LGBT community works together despite infighting. Caitlyn Jenner recently came out as transgender, but before coming out, Caitlyn was a known athlete winning an Olympic medal and was even featured on boxes of Wheaties cereal. Even though this was decades ago, a media spotlight continues to shine upon her because of her association with the Kardashians, a family that is often in the media for inexplicable reasons. Caitlyns transition is vastly different from the average transgender woman in many different ways. The first and most salient way in which it is different is her disposable income, which has made it much easier for her to afford surgeries to affect her transition and complete it in a rapid manner. Man y transgender people often cannot afford facial feminization surgery or sex reassignment surgery due to

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14 economics factors that include discrimination against transgender people in matters of employment, housing, and public accommodations. This is not to di minish Ms. Jenners transition in any way, as she faces her own challenges vis vis her transition. An example would be a recent petition to the International Olympic Committee to strip her of her Olympic medals while she was living her life as a male. (H eck, 2015, 2) Another challenge is that such a famous coming out resulted in bigots of all stripes using Caitlyns story to advance their own homophobic agenda most notably Fox News continuing its tradition of homophobia and transphobia by making disgust ing comments. It started with Fo x Business Neil Cavuto beginning his Caitlyn Jenner segment with yelling What the HELL is going on? in a voice that no person secure in their gender identity would scream in when reporting this story. Not to be undone, Da gen McDowell misgendered Caitlyn several times during his segment and Cavuto joked about Caitlyn Jenner by feminizing the name of his next guest, a person who was not female and ended the segment with the quote Rome, final days, but its fine (Stern 2015, 4) This abuse of Caitlyn Jenner, couched in such a rhetorical manner, is obvious as abuse. If Caitlyn were cisgender, would it be so easy for these people to attack her and her gender so repeatedly? While some of them (such as religious leaders) are being consistent with the rest of their homophobic and transphobic screeds, others att ack transgender women based on an ideology that falsely claims to be feminist when in reality, it is nothing but the hatred of transgender women masking itself as feminist to the detriment of feminism. In an article for Bitch Media, Vasquez ( 1 2014) dis cusses how cisgender women are at minimum guilty of not standing up

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15 against TERFs and the damage they do not just to trans women but the very image of feminism. The lack of transgender voices in the forensics community will become evident as rhetors across the nation come together to debate various topics, one of which will invariably be Caitlyn Jenners transition. This may be significa nt for transgender competitors who may feel the need to out themselves and tell their story, and cisgender people who will need to show their level of understanding (or lack thereof) of transgender issues. While it may be slowly changing, cisgender people in this modern day are often ill equipped to discuss transgender issues in a respectful manner. Again, Vasquez (21, 2014) opines about how cisgender people often feel that its not their place to discuss these issues or where these people are concerned about seeming as though they are speaking for trans women, which may discourage cisgender feminist s from speaking on the issues of transphobia and transmisogyny. Given the statistical commonality of transgender people, as demonstrated by Lynn Conway (2012) it is more than likely that everyone has met someone who is gender variant in some way or anothe r; however most people do not recognize this. With the media still thinking that it is acceptable to dead name a transgender person, how can transgender people trust the media to handle their issues and their lives with any sort of dignity or understanding? While there are some positive media stories, such as Laverne Cox being interviewed by Time Magazine the very presence of Cox shows how not only she plays into stereotypes of trans women, but also how rare it is for transgender actors to play transgender roles. Additionally, with one out of six transgender people facing incarceration (National Cen tre for Transgender Equality, 2015, p42), the idea of transgender people in prison being portrayed inaccurately is disturbing.

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16 Transgender people all across the country see their rights challenged along with their gender identities in the mo st hurtful ways and the forensics community is not exempt from the prejudices that exist in the general populace. A startling example would be the fact that in 30 years, c isgender women have only won the National Parliamentary Debate Associations championship, in 2007. While some may inaccurately see this as irrelevant to the discrimination faced by transgender rhetors, transphobia stands on the nexus of sexism and cissexi sm. E ven against cisgender women, shows the transgender competitor a depressing statistic on how likely they are a transgender competitor to get far in the championship, let alone win. How likely is it for a transgender woman to win when she has to compete against cisgender men? As members of the forensics community gain positions of power and privilege, a flawed understanding of transgender people can have a negative impact on public policy. When using language that is harmful toward transgender people wit hout thinking of the rhetorical ramifications, rhetors often plant the seeds of prejudice in the minds of well meaning but illinformed people. Another example of how the forensics community views literature is examining how competitors perform and engage through the importance of selections of Oral Interpretation performed at various forensics tournaments by forensics competitors that speak to the transgender experience and perspectives. While tackling prejudice against trans* rhetors is the most important thing we can do, considering the fact that to this date, no transgender competitor has ever won a national forensics championship, pieces that speak to the realities of transgender life and people help to replace negative stereotypes with a fuller, more human picture.

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17 Ultimately, this thesis strives to educate individuals on the intricacies of life as a transgender person and how s he or he negotiates the ideological assumptions of society. Media perception of transphobia is playing out in current everyday lives. Caitlin Jenner raised the awareness of trans issues around the world when she unveiled herself and her identity, no longer identified with her assigned name, Bruce Jenner. Caitlyns symbolic coming out process has drawn renewed attention to, and opened a dialogue about transgender issues Her coming out has also had the effect of forcing the world to acknowledge transgende r identities once again. John Stew art of The Daily Show addresses Jenner as the brave new girl! (2015) in his shows often satirical accompanying graphics. The significance of Jenners transition gives the transgender community exposure that the gay and lesbian community (physical changes that takes place in the transgender community can create a disconnect from the gay/lesbian community) is separated from, given the lack of accurate representation of transgender peopl e in the media. Spe cifically, gay In recent decades, the representation of gay and lesbian people has improved so that its just another characteristic that characters can have and does not define their character. While it is a common trope to have a token character, whether black, female or gay who serve no other purpose and has no defining characteristics, there are some mediums that do a good job writing gay and transgender characters that are full characters and their identity does not centre completely around being trans gender. An example would be the character of Claire Augustus in the web comic Questionable Content A token character is solely defined by their minority but the long time readers were heavily invested in Claire as a character long before sh e came out as transgender to Marten, one of the main characters, at a party. Claire is a

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18 refreshing example of when authors get transgender characters right and build a re latable, fully formed character (Rosenberg, 2013 10) Transphobia in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is a prevalent issue that is felt and observed by many trans* individuals. It seems counterintuitive, but other groups have similarly excluded sex/gender minorities. The idea that feminists, a gr oup that arguably fights for women, a minority that still faces discrimination to this day, could discriminate against transgender people is deeply problematic After all, the African American church has a long, shameful history of disowning and bullying L GBT people not just out of the church but also out of the black community and even out of their families. Swartz (2015) argues that the civil and human rights struggles are essentially the same as the struggles faced by African Americans. Additionally, Swa rtz discusses how religion and the effects it has on the African American community can weaken the black family by alienating and

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19 ostracizing gay African American relatives. The analogy between the African American church and community disowning gay relati ves can be drawn to how the cissexual lesbian and gay community can put the struggles of the transgender community on the side to achieve their own goals such as the Human Rights Committees support of a gender exclusive, em ployment nondiscrimination act (Roberts, 3, 2013). The heteronormative cisgender populace believes that all LGBT people not only understand each other but support each other. Often, organizations that purport to fight for the rights of LGBT people often throw transgender peopl e under the bus to get rights for the cisgender LGB populace and a prominent example would be the fight for a gender inclusive employment nondiscrimination act and how the Human Rights Committee stood as one of only two groups (the other, being Log Cabin Republicans) to oppose a gender inclusive version of the bill (Roberts, 7, 2013) However, upon a closer review of the facts, there are elements in the cisgender LGB community that are, at best, transphobic and at worst, transantagonistic. Todd Clayto n, a gay author with the Huffington Post recognizes that when he used to be transphobic and says I remember a co worker telling me that her sibling had just come out as transgender and not knowing what to say to her. I remember making jokes. I remember feel ing uncomfortable when trans* people would walk into the coffee shop (2013,4) While some people eventually have a change of heart and try to adjust their thinking to become more inclusive of others some people seem intent on maliciously attacking the transgender community. Cathy Brennan an attorney who is also a trans exclusionary radical feminist is an example of this. D espite identifying a lesbian,

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20 Brennan sees no problem working with the Pacific Justice Institute, a California based organisation that is recognised as an anti LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (McEwen, 2014), to harass a transgender minor at a Colorado school. The position of Brennan and the Pacif ic Justice Institute was that [s] imply by entering the girls locker room, she was inherently intimidating and harassing the other girls who use it, despite having no evidence to substantiate this claim (Ford, 2013). Brennan even sent harassing emails to the physicians of another transgender woman and has engaged in a number of harassing behaviours that, pursuant to the letter of the law, would constitute harassment at best and domestic terrorism at worst, given the intention to intimidate not just the particular transgender women she happens to be atta cking but any trans women who wish to engage politically (Vasquez, 3, 2014). It may seem ironic that someone who is a lesbian is exercising these prejudices but the same could be said of people who lack privilege in any sphere attacking another group of people who also lack privilege. An example would be the black pastor, who lacks white privilege, attacking Wiccans, who lack Christian privilege. Such person is implicitly saying, as Swartz notes, The irony here is difficult to swallow. I, for one, would not want to secure my civil rights by standing on the neck of another. Without any apparent appreciation for the irony of their actions, African American critics of gay rights are engaging in the same rhetorical strategies as white critics of the Civ il Rights movement (p. 1112, 2015). Swartz sees this as identity politics that succeeds by standing on the neck of others, a position that Swartz and I both agree is explicitly wrong. For the black pastor to discriminate against the gay African American, it reveals the hypocrisy inherent in a man who should, for all ideals, be against prejudice but practices prejudice by his very vocation.

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21 The attack of transgender people is fuelled solely by transphobia and/or cissexism. Given the lack of understanding of transgender people by the general populace, transphobia is still seen as socially acceptable. Adam Sandler is able to create awful movies where he dresses as a woman while if he went in blackfa ce, people would rightly be upset And its not just Adam Sandler, cis women (and even more disgustingly, cis men) are often cast to play transgender women in movies, denying transgender women these opportunities in the acting community. (W ilchins 2015, ) No one would think to allow a cis man to play a cis wom an, so why would it be seen as acceptable for a cis man to play a trans woman? This is made significant because, when transgender people are portrayed in dramatic literary cuttings and selections by cisgender rhetors, do they also enact their prejudices either overtly by changing the piece or covertly by changing their mannerisms to account for prejudices held against transgender people ? Given the widespread transphobia in society, transgender people may not be willing or able to speak on their own issues They may feel disenfranchised, especially if a cisgender rhetor makes light of their struggles in life. This is even worse if the transgender rhetor does not have passing privilege, which is the privilege that is accorded to transgender people who appe ar to be a cisgender member of their gender. Physical appearance discrimination in the transgender community is an everyday experience. Public perception of trans* individuals is drawn from a heightened fear of what the trans* individual represent s. I have already talked about Cathy Brennan and there are others, such as Janice Raymond who not only wrote the incredibly paranoid screed, the Transsexual Empire she also advised the U.S. Government on policy relating to transgender healthcare. TERF rhetoric is often

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22 incendiary and attacks transgender women on a number of issues, working hard to advocate against equal rights even to stand with conservative organi zation. TERFs have rejected using the pronoun she for trans* women because of faulty logic and a rejection of one of the most basic tenets of feminism, that biology does not equal destiny. An example would be the total misunderstanding of what it means t o be a transgender woman that the New Yorker author Michelle Goldberg (2014) had displayed i n her article What is a Woman? Goldberg claims that transgender women still retain male privilege even though statistically, this is not only untrue but transgend er women are even more likely to suffer pay and employment discrimination because of their status as both a woman and a transgender person. (Weiss, 2015) According to Crosby Burns of the Center for American Progress ( 2 2012), Recent research and da ta point to significant disparities in earnings for gay and transgender workers. This is especially the case for gay men and transgender women. Crosbys research found that the earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one third following the ir gender transitions [and] the earnings of male transgender workers slightly increased following their transition. As such, transgender men may actually experience a wage advantage rather than a wage penal ty (2). So, the claim that transgender women still retain male privilege is not only factually wrong, transgender men gain male privilege as a result of their transition. Goldberg also claims that transgender people are rare: one in 30,000. Unlike most of her cla ims, this may not be entirely dishonest given that this is the number that the American Psychiatric Association has published in previous years. Howeve r, research performed by Conway & Winter ( 1 2011) shows that, even using the most

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23 conservative of calculations, the prevalence of transgender people who go through sex reassignment surgery is closer to one in 2,500. As in other areas, t ransphobia in the forensics community is something that is difficult to prove. At the end of the day, one of the strongest ways transphobia can become recognizable when a cisgender judge, coach, or competitor exercises their biases by verbalizing their disapproval of transgender people. It is difficult to prove transphobia in each specific instance, given the anonymity of the ballots and the rules protecting such anonymity, but when transgender competitors are not often represented in national level competitions, one has to question: where all the transgender competitors? As I wrap up this chapter on transphobia, I feel it is deeply important to touch on these issues, which all transgender people face, before we move on to Self Reflexive Autoethnography. The reason why we must study transphobia and discuss the struggles that all transgender people face is to no t only strengthen our understanding of the transgender self reflexive autoethnography, but we also have the responsibility to understand how transgender people are impacted by forces outside of their control. Wi th factors that make living as transgender people harder and with groups that try to make people who deny service to LGBT people, such as Kim Da vis, into martyrs and draw faulty comparisons between Kim Davis and Rosa Parks (Eversley, 2015, 1) we must understand why the world can be hostile to transgender people before we can fully address the issues a transgender competitor may f ace in the forensics community.

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24 CHAPTER III AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: THE SEARCH FOR SAVANNAH S elf reflexive autoethnography is increasingly important in discussing issues pertinent to the transgender community. Transgender competitors and the struggles they face are no exception. Self reflexive autoethnography lends us a lens by which we can study the transgender experience as it relates both to competition itself and speci fically to how a transgender competitor will feel and be judged. In this chapter, I will provide Sarah Walls definition of autoethnography. After that, I will discuss my personal narrative as a transgender rhetor and as a judge. Wrapping up this chapter, I will discuss my past and present experiences in the tr ansgender community, arriving at conclusions about my future in both the transgender and forensics communities. It is my goal to highlight how and why the voices of transgender competitors in the for ensics community have been silenced, for they have been silent for far too long. According to Sarah Wall : Autoethnography is an emerging qualitative research method that allows the author to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her expe rience to extend understanding about a societal phenomenon. Autoethnography is grounded in postmodern philosophy and is linked to growing debate about reflexivit y and voice in social research. (2006, p.146) Walls analysis is important in understanding autoethnography and its importance in studying the impact of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in a way that quantitative research may be lacking. The personal narrative or personal experience is uniquely linked to the forensics community in categories where a competitor who is competing in either deba te and oral interpretation, possibly can engage the audience in a summary or

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25 oration of hers or his own Forensics competitors summarize in their individual written introductions particular arguments/frameworks for why the y select and choose an author or prose to convey a particular thematic approach. In Debate, a competitor may give a narrative to expand on a particular ideology or critique that may answer a rhetorical question given at the beginning of the round. This strategy engages both judges and competitors. Physical appearance discrimination in any community is difficult to swallow and the LGBT community faces this gross experience on day to to basis. In July 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, and were denied service on the basis of their sexual orientation. A case was brought to the Civil Rights Division of the Colora do Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and it was decided by that division that the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop had, in fact, committed discrimination against the couple (Keifer, 2015, 1). While cases like this may be getting national attention, th e fact still remains that in the majority of states, it is legal to engage in employment, public accommodations, and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (Brown, 2015, 1). Additionally, with at will employment laws existing in every state and a number of creative ways to couch discrimination, a purely quantitative analysis of discrimination against LGBT people is lacking. The issue at play with this is the idea that it is acceptable to discriminate against anothe r human being for something that they did not choose. If a baker is willing to open about his bigotry against LGBT people as is the case in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case mentioned above why is it such a stretch to believe a judge might not fairly evaluate a transgender competitor based solely on their

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26 performance? Physical appearance discrimination becomes most salient when a person does not have an outward appearance that affirms their real gender identity. So, what is so important about self reflexive a utoethnography? C an an autoethnography truly be self reflexive, including all of the rhetors shortcomings? Can a rhetor see herself/himself objectively enough to create an autoethnography that can be used in lieu of qualitative and quantitative evidence? When talking about systems of oppression, it is imperative to not only talk about how they affect us as people, both professionally and personally, but also share the stories of others who have experienced similar issues In other words, the production of autoethnographies helps to strengthen the academic knowledge of being transgender in a world that is still largely cissexist. Personal Narrative What will make this approach unique is that I am writing from the perspective of a person who was assigned male at birth who has transitioned into a trans* female. I write from a place of pride and boldness and present my personal experiences, the intimate narratives of my gender change. I use these observations to analyze critically the social experiences and resp onses that a transgender transition poses To bring this critical perspective, I incorporate the work of theorists Judith Butler and Edward Said, which examines gendered and hegemonic constructions in a society. Butler and Said detail the ideological hiera rchies of the world in discourses about sex, gender, and ethnicity, providing insight into how naturalized these are. Their analyses show that what seems given is not necessarily true and serves as a form of surveillance and control of our identities. I us e Butlers concept of gender performativity to show how the complexities of gender performance can divide a society. The consequences

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27 for this division can create gender suppression for both women and men along with the marginalization of transgender people by communities wi thin the larger LGBT community. I hope that this coverage of my personal narrative will offer a unique perspective of my life experiences in which I have been defined. Both the social implications of transition and the political aspec t of trans* lives, through the social construction of the gender binary (male vs. female), will provide a broader view of transgender people as a whole through my own story and help others formulate informed questions about my community. B ecoming S avannah When I first entered the doors into the forensics community, I was a freshman in high school. It was in 1992. L ittle did I know that this community would shape my future in so many ways. With very little experience in the arena of public speaking, I learned the art of oral interpretation and how to produce a winning oratory. I was 5, fifteen years old with braces wearing a gray suit and a black tie. My hair was comb ed into a curly afro and I had my oratory notes typed on front of black construction paper and yellow highlighted annotations of when and where I needed to pause. During this time, I had not transitioned and was living as my inauthentic self in a body that I despised. Oratory performance was an outlet: a new discovery in which I could express m y authentic identity through oral performance. Little did I realize that entering forensics would reshape my own reality. (Savannahs first oratory 13 years old)

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28 Forensics offers a variety of performance based events in which competitors utilize published manuscripts to interpret various pieces using a dramatic skill set to entice, engage, and entrance both judges and audience members. The ultimate goal during this process is to earn the rank of #1 in your preliminary rounds so you can ad vance to Finals. As I began to compete at more tournaments, I started to find my own voice during the process. I became elated and enthralled the more I engaged with the forensics community. Here, I could read and interpret feminine authors like Maya Angel ou, Nikki Giovanni, Nellie Wong, and I would be judged solely on the outcome of my performance rather than on my gender presentation. What this represented for me was indescribable. For the first time in my life, I could be a female character performing as a woman without repercussions. In the early 1990s, nonnormative sexual orientations were still considered to be quietly taboo.; the premise being you do not talk about or even discuss other genders outside of the gender binary. What this meant was the re were only two sexes. Those who identified as heterosexual were socially acceptable

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29 and had more privilege than those who were clearly not. I was incredibly effeminate and did not show significant stereotypical signs of masculine physical traits/characte ristics which divided and separated me in my high school years. This was an advantage for me in the forensics community, as I felt accepted by performing in genres that women typically performed in. For example, I collected poetry and prose by Maya Angelou along with other female authors, and read/interpreted these pieces, advancing to finals, and winning first place at the State tournament at Overland High School in 1994. The irony was that I not only won first place, but I also won using a female author and my gender presentation became irrelevant. During my college years (19951999) my sexual orientation became more noticeable among my forensics team members and in the debate community. I would typically use pieces that would discuss my sexual experiences as they were unfolding before my eyes. Additionally, I found other authors that discuss ed gay and lesbian the mes as an advantage in the field of oral interpretation because these pieces became more competitive. I understood that sexuality in particular was highly non normative, but yet, added a new flavour to traditional prose that would help me to become extremely competitive. Straying from Chau ser and Edgar Allen Poe allowed me to choose new authors that addressed contemporary times giving me a completive advantage against other competitors. I earned two legs (seats/bids) for AFA Nationals at Colora do State University in 1996. T his meant I had to rank in Finals in the topthree places at one tournament in each event: Poetry and Program Oral Inter pretation (POI). After graduating from Colorado State University in 1999, I began serving the

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30 forensics community as a community judge/critic. This meant I would attend tournaments throughout Colorado. Figure 1 : High school valediction, 1995 Colorado State University was an awakening for me on many levels. For example, I was learning how to accept my own sexuality and how to navigate my identity in a predominantly cisgender world. My experiences in 1996 were vastly confined as I did not outwardly identify as a trans* woman.Instead, I was identifying as an effeminate gay male because I did not have the vocabulary to define who I really wanted to become; I was not familiar with the term transgender; but, I understood that li fe for me as a gay male was extremely limiting. It was during this time that I began to explore my sexuality. I utilized the forensics community as avenue for which I could portray various characters in the many categories that the forensics community offe red. Poetry, Prose, Drama, and POI, I could find literary pieces that were limitless. It did not matter that I was physically presenting as a male. Most important thing was how I played the character in round and during competition. The female literary sel ections that I performed, I found most riveting. It was during these performances that I noticed my female self was more apparent and natural. I did not have to prepare as much nor did I

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31 have to pretend to be someone I was not; it just came naturally to be a female character. For example, when reading Maya Angelous I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, how I flourished naturally, was simply being able to perform female authors innately. This meant I identified with female authors and their poetry as it erupte d through my body as if it was my voice. When Maya Angelou says I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I knew it, I expressed it and I delivered it. The success that accompanied my performances was highly noticeable in many tournaments, as I would work hard to advance to nationals. Savannah: The Judge and Critic I entered the forensics community as a judge in 1999, judging my first high school debate tournament. In the last 16 years, I have been judging in the forensics community at all levels, from high school to the collegiate level, travelling to tournaments hosted all over the United States from California to New York. In my travels as a judge, I have observed that the only thing that really changes is the scenery. It is important to acknowledge that I have passing privilege as a trans woman, which many trans women do not have. The only exception to this rule is that many of my former teammates from Colorado State University, all of which are aware of my transition and have been aware for the past 15 yea rs as it is something I have not hidden from them. It is truly important to note that as a trans, African American critic, my authority is always in question as a judge while on the collegiate circuit. In NPDA, where oral critiques are given, defending my position as a judge was not enough for some competitors. This observation only encouraged me to work harder and smarter so that my identity was not at the forefront to make my decisions in each

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32 round. A judge must justify her decision on how she will judge a round where her identity and her physical appearance can be attacked because it deviates from the majority. Judges are constantly under scrutiny when making decisions that can affect a competitors standing in a tournament. When judges are on the front line, they are under just as much scrutiny as the competitors use, because if a competitor doesnt like the decision you made, they can make up all sorts of claims against your decision all because they didnt get their way. Please keep in mind, these are my observations as a judge in the last sixteen years. In this chapter, I summarized the importance of autoethnography and then shared my personal narrative. I also touched lightly on current events and how they impact perception of transgender people. As a judge in the Rocky Mountain Region in the last 15 years, as a judge and tournament director both on the high school and collegiate levels, I have experienced this first hand on both sides. The question I posit today is how much would my voice matter in the community if everyone in the community knew my identity as a transgender woman? On the collegiate level, everyone I have known and competed with has been accepting and this is directly related to my experience as a competitor at Colorado State Univer sity from 19951999 under the leader ship of Dr. Marty Birkholt. It is my intention to apply to a doctoral programme at a university in Ohio and expand my experience in the Ohio forensics community on the collegiate level. It is my goal to open the dialogue about transge nder issues while traveling across the country with my team and not have to deal with transgender issues by trans* angry students or parents, and that any trans* competitor can feel safe and complacent with

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33 housing arrangements and ba throom privileges that do not force compulsory heterosexuality or cissexuality.

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34 CHAPTER I V POLITICS AND SATIRE: THE VOYAGE HOME In the following chapter I have chosen to focus on politics and s atire and how it relates to the forensics community. Politics and satire and interwoven into American democracy and has given many Americans both laughter and cynicism on many controversial points of contention allowing television to be the medium where social issues can be addressed. Over the las t decade, we have seen the rise of influence of comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in news, even though their shows are on Comedy Central. Politics and satire are inextricably connected, and both are useful tools that the forensics communi ty has adopted to send a message. From presidential races to even the most local of issues, comedians have latched on to the news in a way that traditional news stations dare not go. Forensics competitors use this medium to their advantage and often times adapt these pieces for their own performance. To quote the British Broadcasting Channel: Modern politicians have an increasingly complicated relationship with satire. Many choose to go on Have I Got News for You where they will often be mocked. Why do they put themselves in the firing line? Some, like Boris Johnson, have found that appearing on satirical television has improved their public profile. Yet many MPs view the show as potential career suicide and will do everything to avoid it. The internet has also opened up new avenues for satire. News sites are spoofed by the likes of the Daily Mash. And social media platforms like Twitter offer us all the chance to be satirists from the comfort of our phones Satire continues to be an important part of the political landscape. Its voice continues to provoke and challenge and the most effective satire can change our opinions on an issue or a person. But it doesnt directly force change no laws have been introduced in parliament off the back of satire. However what it can do is change the career prospects of many of our political figures, for better or for worse. (n.d.)

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35 Literature Review The forensics community dates back as early as 1858. According to the Nat ional Park Service, [the] LincolnDouglas debates were a series of formal political debates between the challenger, Abraham Lincoln, and the incumbent, Stephen A. Douglas, in a campaign for one of Illinois t wo United States Senate seats (2015) Lincoln may have lost the election, but these debates launched him to a place of national prominence from which he was able to eventually win election as President of the United States As a direct result of the Lincoln debates, a thriving forensics community was developed. For years, debates among Presidential candidates became a key qualifier that would distinguish many accomplished candidates from the inexperienced candidates, giving Americans the chance to hear politics. As discussed previously in this thesis, becoming a member of the forensics community is one of the most considerable beginning steps to launching a long successful career in politics, journalism and public policy Debate shapes our society, reinforces our shared values and teaches us who we are and what we stand for both individually and collectively. (Reed, 12, 2012) Oprah Winfrey describes the importance of forensics to her public career: I was state champion in speech and drama for two years in high school, and I believe that so much of what I do today is the direct result of the work I did then ( 2011) What h er testimonial reinforces is that forensics has the potential to transform every students experience in high school and college. Since the first televised debate with Presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, America was given a pen and paper, with which they

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36 decide the better debater. Physical appearance was a key element that Americans could use in order to judge the next President of the United States of America, as was proven by the results of the first televised debat e. This was the first time that physical appearance played a role in voting. When looking at discrimination based upon physical appearance, would Franklin Roosevelt have been elected for President if Americans were aware that he was in a wheelchair and had polio? The process of otherization and discrimination of marginalized groups: people of color, women, people with disabilities, and transgender individuals in high school and collegiate debate are faced with having to confront their identity in competitio n and being judged solely based upon physical appearance. Transgender competitors are more likely to be discriminated against by judges, which creates an unavoidable, unfair, and undeserving bias. Women in Debate There a strong connection among women and t rans* competitors in the forensics community, an d that is they both understand equality and sexual difference. In this chapter, I will discuss women in greater detail examining discourses and experiences of women in debate and how language has been unforgiving and restricted. This is best evidenced when comparing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, as they both were two key figures in t he 2008 presidential election. Hillary Clinton was a strong lea der that inspired hope in people and had previous political experience, as both a forme r U.S. senator and first lady. Sarah Palin was the vice presidential nominee whose only other executive experience was as the small town mayor of Wasilla, Alaska before she became governor of the State of Alaska. While the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCains running mate delivered the intended

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37 effect of creating a boost right out of the Re publican National Convention, she eventually came off as uneducated and inexperienced on the international stage, hurting the McCain campaign According to senior McCain aides during the 2008 presidential election, Sarah Palin had serious deficiencies in knowledge when it came to foreign affairs (Roach, 2012). Some examples include not knowing why North and South Korea are different countries, not understanding the idiosyncrasies between the War in Afghanistan, the War in Iraq and the overall War o n Terror, and the fact that Sarah Palin claimed that her foreign policy experience was informed by Alaskas proximity to the Russian Federation. In addition to the fact that Sarah Palin has not held a passport since 2006 (Oakley, 2008), she has called people who have travelled around the world elitists. Because of these facts, there are serious doubts raised concerning her foreign policy experience and how well she could represent America on the global stage. Palins contribution to women in poli tics shapes the way in which conservative women will be negatively viewed for generations. Palins main premise rests on the ideal that she was shattering the glass ceiling even further than Hillary Clinton. However, what Americans learned from Palins c andidacy was the exact opposite. Sadly, this view of conservative women has been reinforced by congresswomen like Michelle Bachmann and Christine ODonnell, who have often been compared to Palin for their own misinformed statements. In politics, perceptions frame the way in which advocacy for the rights of marginalized groups is perceived. At o ne time or another in the U.S, every resident has seen a caricature artist, either at a street fair or some other public event. The portraits they draw are never true to life but rather, they are an exaggeration of certain qualities about a subject. For

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38 example, the artist would draw a subjects nose or eye glasses bigger than they actually are on the subjects face. The art of the skit does this in a very similar way through the medium of the theatre. The caricatures of Palin and Hillary, while emphasizing some fair attributes, also worked off of public perceptions of these politicians. The actor performing Hillary Clinton in the skit claimed that she was cold a nd bitter about not having earned the nomination of the Democratic Party. How is this anything but an attempt to take away from both the image of these politicians and to shift the focus from the issues? The importance of this skit is that it also shows a problematic issue of making competent women seem cold and uncaring and reinforcing stereotypes. By performing these exaggerated traits through the public medium of television and satire, the actors were helping to affirm the ideas and characterist ics that they were emphasizing in the minds of the greater populace. The actors in the skit from SNL could easily say that they were acting to sway the minds of voters without overtly doing so. Granted, the intellect of the candidates and whether or not they can do the job is a very important issue, but many Americ ans have grown apathetic toward the office of the President of the United States, especially after the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon. We need to put more focus on the is sues and continually refer back to them because this is what matters to every American in their day to day life we need to create a shift in emphasis on the individual politicians back to the issues and where they stand on these issues. Politics is perception. An assault on a persons image can have both positive and negative implications, especially for politicians. We judge people based on reputation; after all, do we not Google potential romantic partners and write/review

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39 resumes for p otential employers to look at and judge whether we are fit for the position? Image is everything in this country and the political candidate that runs for President must understand this or they will not go far. Image is what killed Herman Cain and his camp aign to become President of the United States. In the Fox News 2012 GOP Republican Primary Debate, Herman Cain quoted a Pokmon song as a great poet. According to Rachel Maddow of MS NBC, We all should have known! Maddow reframes Cains lack o f experience and dirty laundry as women come forward e xposing sexual harassment claims against Cain. Political satire is one of the avenues where we often see so many of our politicians dirty laundry aired on television. This can have a detrimental effect on the image of candidates that are seeking political nomination and sway voters away from voting for their candidates. This reaffirms how image is essential to public perception.

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40 (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, SNL 2007) While the skit tried to talk about some disconcerting realities about both of the candidates running for office, it did ignore several vital issues that voters may consider key to making their decisions. Serious issues such as repairing the economic decimation that was inflicted upon the middle class by years of trickledown economics or working to strengthen the equal rights of LGBT Americans were not discussed. However, for the person who has lost their job because of the economy or the widow of a gay partner having to fight tooth and nail for some economic stability in a time of emotional upset or crisis, these issues are dramatically impor tant. Let us not f orget that the partner of U.S. first lesbian astronaut, Sally Ride, faced an uphill battle in trying keep her world from falling to piece s after the death of Ride because t he laws in place still discriminated against her until her death in 2012. Let us not forget that the people who are losing their jobs because of the economy are being fought in the arena of public benefits, where opportunistic politicians would call them lazy for the crime of having lost their job. Welfare has become such a dir ty word in the political sphere but what else can a person turn to when their jobs have been taken away from them? At the e nd of the day, the American people do not really care about the intelligence or the emotional state of the President or Vice President of the United States when they are not able to put food on the table and help to support their families. We neglect what is happening to the U.S. when we only focus on a candidates personal characteristics. It is evident that the SNL skits exacerbated these personality traits and over exaggerated them, possibly influencing voters by altering public perception and taking awa y from the real issues of the campaign. One of the effects of these skits was

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41 to fuel these character judgments and work to affirm them in the minds of the populace when, in fact, it only served to do this in the minds of each candidates opposition. Addit ionally, the long term implications of these skits and skits like these have affected the public images of these real life persons because there is a constant reminder of these stereotypes and over exaggerated personal characteristics. Finally, these skit s neglected to discuss many of the real issues that face this country such as economic hardship or other social issues that matter a great deal to many Americans. With all of these arguments, it is clear that political satire leaves a long lasting impressi on. The significance of satire in politics gives Forensics competitors a firsthand view of how both presidential candidates and women are seen in debate. Both High School and Collegiate competitors use television programs such as CNN, NBC, FOX News, as so urces while in round to support arguments made in competition. The importance of these sources is heavily fuelled by rhetoric in w hich media perception has been incredibly influenced. For example, during my Extemporaneous Speaking rounds at local High School Tournaments, students use these television news programs as critical sources in which are targeted to affirm or negative any random topic in which the students have chosen. Fox News, who has been seen by the public as a traditionally conservative news s ource, more than likely the strategy of the competitor, is to use sources that they are familiar with to give them a competitive advantage. This process is filtered through the forensics community. Rhetoric has an impact as well as media perception influen ces its demographic constituency. Therefore, it comes to no surprise when we see political satire, like SNL taking shape in the Forensics community as way of s upporting or negating an issue.

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42 This chapter covers a unique perspective that politics has a hand in our forensics competitors see performance and perception as mutually exclusive. The importance of politics in the forensics community can shape the way in which trans* competitors are seen in debate. This could be problematic from the lens of the judge who may harbour bias or lack of knowledge of trans* subjectivity. In the next chapter, I will aim to address how equality and sexual difference has always been a defining moment for cisgender women.

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43 CHAPTER V EQUALITY AND SEXUAL DIFFERENCE: THE FINAL FRONTIER Defining Equality and Sexual Difference Adriana Cavarrero Italian Feminist and philosophical thinker, Adriana Cavare rro is known for her study of equality and sexual difference. Cavarerro was inspired by philosopher Luce Irigaray as the thread of new feminist rhetoric begun take shape in the twentiethcentury. Cavarerros work is significant because she utilized her own narrative as a constructive way to bridge philosophical thinking into her writing. Therefore, her voice becomes a critical link in the way in which scholarship has evolved. Cavarrero argues, womens role in society always to be unequal to the male counterpart. This chapter will aim to address the ideal behind the con struct of categorized identity. Next, I will aim to examine how the theories of Foucault, Bourdieu, Said and Butler are wed together as they collectively construct and respond to classified categorized identities via theory. It is my goal to establish how equality and sexual difference directly correlate to passing privilege and how conformity to societal norms of gender expression covertly play out in the forensics community today. For transgender forensics competitor s, their ability to pass maybe the di fference between a trophy and last place. Gender Performance Is gender a social construct? This is no easy questions to answer. Over the years, many theorists have proposed a variety of mechanisms through which identity may be constructed within a societal context. Two theorists, Said and Bourdieu, conceptualize identity as the adoption of socially governed norms through a stringent classification process, arriving at how we see the gender binary. Foucault asserts that

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44 the docile surveillance (monitoring) of human subjectivity is overtly related to identity. Alternatively, Bourdieu appeals to the habitus (perception/thought) through which significance and meaning are developed in coordination with other human beings. Foucault and Bourdieu both offer a view of human behaviour. This is connected to the transgender competitor as he/she sees his/her gender different from cisgender competitors. His/her perception is more evaluative as they learn to navigate the intricacies of the forensics community. Cavarrero, y et, through an historical analysis of basic political assumptions surrounding individuals and their membership in the public and private spheres, finds an erasure or amnesia that continues to work in the modern era (twenty first century). Cavarrero trace s the foundations of the modern erasure of sexual difference in the conception of the universal individual. The foundation for this erasure is acknowledged in the pre modern era but has lasting effects as the conception of the universal individual was intr oduced and through time. Cavarero finds the erasure of sexual difference in the modern era to be predicated upon the assumption of a masculine model as the basis for the universal individual in relation to the state. The erasure of sexual difference leaves feminine sexuality unacknowledged and forgotten in the political and legal arena by evaluating the varying levels of gender inequality and obvious sexual differences that are reinforced in contemporary societies. Cavarrero argues that sexual difference is neither otiose [ no practical purpose or result] nor superfluous (1998, p7) and, therefore, has repercussions and consequences in the lives of women. Cavarrero's analyses is directly linked to the transgender forensics competitor because equality and sexual difference" is the cause of action in which trans*

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45 competitors are critically evaluated from the perception of forensics community members, coaches, and judges. This evidenced by my own personal narrative and experiences that I have analyzed critically and discussed thus far in this thesis. As long as transgender competitors are held to unforgiving standards of social acceptance, can communities begin to readily acknowledge the plight of trans* individuals respectively. Cavarrero notes the importance of sexual difference to be crucial to the betterment of womens lives because, as she contends: For those who are not subjects, who do not consist in mind and body of their sexed gender, who do not possess the symbolic representation that i nscribes them in the world, are nothing themselves, but at most a funct ion in the world of the other (1998, p45). Those who do not have symbolic representation are constantly functioning in the world where they are not are actually nothing. Cavarrero argues that if there is without symbolic representation, women are the other and thus a function of inequality. Where there is only a one sex system, there clearly is no representation of another. Because the ideal of equality is problematized when sexual difference is taken into account, it becomes clear that equality is simply the absorption of one sexual being into the other and is already in place. Thus, it also problematizes this ideal of separatism of sex in politics. This one sex system can influence how the structures of law and society operate and have operated for men and women in the same equal protection view under the law. Cavarero contends that a universal male system is blinding because people do not understand what it means to be a woman or man in a society. Even notions of enforcing a justice system for men and women with different laws is having to understand the very importance of and the existence of being woman and how it is

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46 completely irreconcilable and problematic. Once this discourse was understoodthat women were not equal laws were written to adhere to and support the notoriety of sexual differences. This new learned ontological discourse and spheres of existence creates a dissonance of identity for women who have to seek to see t hemselves in hierarchies that would not see them as having assimilated to male behaviour and discourse. Thinking in terms of sexual difference, is thus not simply a philosophical exercise, but the inaugural act in a political project that assumes women to be subjects of capable of freedom and of self signification (Cavarrero, 1998, p11). What Cavarrero suggests is that there is this conflated ideology of how people access politics for women and men that is not as easily accessible. The root of the probl em is that there assumes this sameness that justice will be just as good for women as it is for men when it is not. Thus, sexual difference is extremely politicized for women who are existing in a one sex system and thinking of this sexual difference as an impact on how Cavarero views how women have to perform maleness in order to succeed in society. This idea of existence is carried over to the forensics community the moment the competitor enters the room and acknowledge his/her gender. Cavarero begins he r analysis in order to identify when the ideas of equality and sexual indifference were brought together. She traces through the pre modern and modern periods, comparing and contrasting the Aristotelian view to a modern view where equality and gender inter sect. According to Cavarero, the pre modern period was based upon recognition of sexual difference at the levels of social and political structures. Society was bifurcated to accommodate sexual difference as the foundational difference between individuals. F irst, the pre modern political legal

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47 system focused on the historical differences between men. Cavarero contends, The distinction between the sphere of politics and the sphere of the household (p.44) is the homologization of a democracy that is recogni zed for centuries. Cavarrero suggests that the political sphere cannot survive without the household sphere. A man cannot engage in politics without the production from the household sphere. A man cannot be fruitful without the wealth, nourishment, and productivity if he did have the household sphere. Furthermore, she acknowledges both spheres evolved simultaneously. Originally, this discourse was constructed to differentiate amongst men in the pre modern system. Cavarero argues, The distinction between politika and oikonimika (economy) or that between public and private remains essentially unchang ed until the pre modern epoch (p.34). Importantly, this quote highlights that the entire realm in which women operated has been completely taken away. For centu ries, the only sphere that women have maintained has been the private sphere. I n a modern system, the state eliminates the difference of citizenry vs. sex, women, and slaves as a classification tool or mirror used to define a universal male system because states vi ewed this as inequality. Cavarreo contends, The modern system ignores female sexual difference by absorbing it into an abstract paradigm of the individual which is understood as male and universal. (1998, pp35 36). Furthermore, she argues, this hierarchical structure characterizes the strictly political sphere which is accessible to males alone (p29). Evidently, the modern era, that through the state of nature, which erases class and other divides between men and women gives them all basic human rights and dignity. This basis is founded upon a male model of the individual. The poverty of women would not sustain itself in another sphere. This point is important for my argument because the intersectionality

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48 of class, race, and g ender divides the forensics community. As previously discussed, female competitors are outnumbered in Parliamentary Debate; however, the number of male competitors that compete in Oral Interp and Platform Events are low in comparison to female competitors. When looking at the number of trans* competitors, the numbers are minimal at best. This is difficult to research because I am one of the few former competitors that is open about my trans* identity in the forensics community. Additionally, in the modern system (present day), there was an attempt to reconstruct it to erase the differences among men by using the hypothesis of state of nature by acknowledging the difference of separate but equal. It forces people to acknowledge uniqueness. What remains aft er this, is a system based upon the amnesia of sexual difference. This is how it was setup in the modern period during which the universal subject was constructed; however, it remains in the amnesia of sexual difference; a radical erasure. Cavarerro holds sexual difference as the antithesis of the current system. It takes a precedent that our notions of modern equality are blind to differences that are inherent to the subject that they are examining. Sexual difference is neither otiose nor superfluous. Thus, she suggests that sexual difference has a practical purpose or result. In articulating different views of sameness, she argues that there are two levels of amnesia. First, in the rejection of the pre modern conception of the universal c itizen, sexual difference is left unacknowledged and thus the universal subject is predicated upon a masculine model. Cavarero highlights that the result of this is clearly in the state. Consequently, women are left to assimilate into a model, which does not accommodate for thei r sexual differences from men. Cavarrero argues this is

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49 an example of assimilating inclusion (p37). Thus, transgender individuals voices are silenced in the forensics community because physical appearance discrimination creates differences that are examined solely based on the lack of inclusion that heteronormative not only requires, but demands in any community. The (elementary level) is one of the blindness and exclusion. This is the invisibility of women to men in power and the ability for women to claim the universal. The exclusionary practices of sexual difference allow for women to remain invisible. Cavarrero contends, female sexu al difference experiences the principle of equality as an effect of exclusion and homologization. The principle of an equality suggests that we see sexual differences as something that is a result of excluding women in this system. Cavarrero suggests that we have already adopted a political system (Cavarrero, 1998, p44). Maternity is the best example that adheres to the blindness of political inequality with maternity leave and pregnancy as illness. This is because the male subject, for whom the law is designed, does not experience pregnancies, but only disabling physiological changes or illnesses. The phenomenon of pregnancy comes to be adapted to the language and categories which sustain the law (Cavarrero, 1998, p37). The legal and social implications by claiming this universal standard makes women and their lived experiences and needs makes women less invisible. This also suggest that sexual difference can be legitimized and social practices have practical implications for thinking this way. The seco nd level is that of homogenization, sameness. Cavarrero argues that the appeal to a sexless universal, any culture/society is a translation in figurative terms of the sexed subject that dominates it and has deve loped it. (Cavarrero, 1998, p38). Cavarrero contends that men inherently possess this quality whereas women do

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50 not. She argues, When women decided to claim rights and citizenship, the dominating political doctrine proceeds to apply this inclusive/homologizing power already possessed by the male su bject ( p.37) further dividing the gender binary. Cavarero contends that the womens fate starts here, from the very pre cursor of her existence. This precludes women from having any kind of a voice. Furthermore, Cavarero argues that only by acknowledging these sexual differences can women hope to reconstruct a socioeconomic political order that will be equal for them: A principle of equality that reflects the truth of the twoness will thus necessarily be a principle that denies the legitimacy of the rule in whatever shape and whatever logical guise, of one over the other (Cavarrero. p45). Cavarrero says that you have to essentially remove yourself from previous discourses and give up the ideal of the modern in order to take into account the sexual diffe rence and acknowledge the potential of changing new discourse that would legitimize new ideals. For trans* competitors removing yourself self from discourses in the forensics community is no different. This is exercised when trans* competitors are faced w ith what bathroom they use while sharing lodging with te a m members and/or what restroom t hey can use at other Universitie s. At or from both levels Cavarero explains why in fact sexual difference matters. She readily articulates why sameness and the blindness from exclusion work handin hand to divide and classify women as subjects not thriving in a one sex system. Cavarrero further summarizes Irigaray by arguing that [it] is not enough to free oneself from the master in order to be free. Freedom should be founded on the capacity of the female subject to speak herself, think herself and pro tect herself ( p45). Cavarrero contends that as women continue to mirror themselves in a

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51 homologous way, the current system will always entail sexual differen ce in greater contrast when she is identifying herself. Why does Cavarrero find the acknowledgment of sexual difference to be crucial to the better ment of womens lives? She argues that the construction of contemporary political power can be attributed to the repression of sexual difference. This distinguishes how structures of law and politics operate in society for women and men in a homologous way. These same laws the have been used to silence the voice trans* individuals in any community; yet, maybe extremely frightening for first time trans* competitors whom are not familiar with how to navigate what may seem like an exclusionary forensics community. In contemporary discourses, language evaluates the categorization process of identity in both the pre modern and modern era. Linguistically, the gender binary is the model that distinctively divides men from women. Rhetorical criticism identifies language as a core criterion of "morality", especially in cultural hierarchies in countries like China that reinforce the gender binary. Many may argue that this is the mechanism responsible for hatred and unnecessary judgments in the United States. Language has separated men and women, allowing for equality and sexual difference to be exploited as crucial elements that have been consumed as weighing mechanisms to evaluate the lives of others. Comparison thus yields an us versus them dichotomy, and the other is both categorized and subjected to its power dynamic. Further more, this adheres to Cavareros argument that the erasure of sexual difference in the modern era is grounded in the adoption of a masculine model as the basis for the universal individual in relation to the state. The erasure of sexual difference leaves feminine subjectivity unacknowledged and forgotten in favor of this universal masculine

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52 persona. Cavarero defends her analysis of the basic political assumptions surrounding individuals and their memberships in the public and private spheres, finding an erasure that continues to work in the modern era. This is significant because it exemplifies processes of westernized hegemony are carried over to the forensics community when judges use physical appearance discrimination as a mechanism to insert his/her power. It is important to note that physical a ppearance discrimination of the trans* competitor, again, is difficult to prove. Foucauldian Rhetoric Westernized hegemonic praxis has long assumed that identities take shape to create our own reality. United States hegemonic (coercion/control) experiences of history have shown that the US harbors a diverse sexist culture that exploits race, class, and gender. Foucault examines how power and control is exacerbated in his book Discipline and Punish. Foucault is speaking to a whole system of power knowledge. The way in which a nation renders justice or "old punishment" has shifted paradigms; thus, from the brash and bold execution (Foucault, 1975) style of a guillotine to the psychoanalytical disposition of psychology that renders what is fair and what is j ust. This process was coined as documentation (Foucault, 1975). This rigid process continually emphasizes a masculine male; painting a visceral portrait of parricides (Foucault, 1975) represented male prisoners in the early seventeenth century. He argu es that this label added a surveillance of prisoners while observing how old styles justice of punishment was rendered from a hierarchy to a different form of punishment. These findings have important consequences for the broader domain of equality and sex ual difference.

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53 From this position, the categorization of identity can be attributed to one of several reasons dividing gender. Masculine subjects in the early eighteenth century were forced to adhere to strict discipline and regimen, an example of all hum an performance observed by Foucault. The chief function of di sciplinary power is to train rather than to select and to levy or, no doubt to train and in order to levy and select all the more" (p28 ). In other words, there is a standard for prisoners in w hich training and discipline become a distinctive marker for identifying male subjects. Although discipline may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of todays concern over individuality. Through his recollection of different forms of punishment Foucault argues that discipline requires the male subject/individual to move his body in various forms and shapes. Foucault contends: The human body was entering a machinery of power that explores it, Breaks it down and rearranges it. A political anatomy, which was also, a mechanics of power was not only so that may do what one wish, with the techniques, the speed and the efficiency that one determines, Thus discipline procedures and subjected and practice bodies, docile bodies (Foucault, 1975, p.48) Ultimately, what is most challenging is the notion that the individual becomes of importance because his identity is constructed and categorized as a powerful entity. He /She is disciplined now to create docile bodies into the masses, to protect and serve. Foucault insists that the way the individual body operates is covertly controlled. In making this comment, one can considerably argue that Fo ucault has conceptualized individual human subjectivity from the framework obedience. This is significant be cause it supports how equality and sexual difference has evolved over thousands of years. Particularly, in terms of trans issues subjectivity is an every day experience. Embodiment is critical part of learning how categorize identity and to share inclusiv e and correct language with the cisgender world. This is best evidenced in thesis when I

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54 argued about "dead naming" and they way in which the cisgender world readily acknowledges cis privilege of celebrities; however, rejects trans* pronouns, utilizing nam es that were assigned at a birth as a weapon. Bourdieu Analyses Much like Foucault, Bourdieu appeals to the intrinsic value of human nature, with the idea of the habitus as the driving force behind history, nature, and embodiment. Bourdieu argues, In pr actice, it is the habitus, history turned into nature, i.e., denied as such, which accomplishes practically the relating of these two systems of relations, in and through the production of practice ( p.78). For Bourdieu, the habitus is the development of constructed understandings of the world; meaning is developed in coordination with how we see other human beings and how they operate within the broken system. By focusing on the social construction of sexual orientation, however, Bourdieu overlooks the de eper problem of biology. From this perspective, he supports the idea that sexual identity is a choice determined by the social environment of an individual. Trans* identity is a gender identity and not a sexual orientation. This framework has been proven t o be limiting as well as restrictive, as it silences the transgender community. Furthermore, it divides and re divides an already broken gender binary by attributing social qualifiers that determine masculinity and femininity. Although I agree wit h Bourdieu up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that gender/sexual orientation is socially constructed. Bourdieus theory is well supported in some respects; however, his acceptance of the traditional gender binary does not fit within the complex structure of todays society. First, the notion of

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55 a male/female binary has easily been misinterpreted as the only gender paradigm that society has ever recognized. This has given credence to a very strict standard that has been enculturated by an unforgiving hegemonic male driven world, consequently placing certain criteria that measure gender performativity solely based on definition of male/female characteristics to determine sex. Moreover, the problems associated with identity have resulted in d isagreement about the origin of our gender (hardwired or socially constructed). Finally, by recognizing the intersectionality of race, class, and socioeconomics, Bourdieu has readily ignored novel approaches to gender that are inclusive rather than exclus ive. Therefore, the dichotomization of male versus female (even the way society adopts pink for girls and blue for boys) has been a dividing element in gender wars by creating dissonance among those who do not fit a prescribed gender role within the strict binary. Many in western society continue to challenge the view that gender/sexual orientation is socially constructed. After all, many believe that social environments are linked with acquired gender performance. Thus, arguably, the reasons for w hy the gender binary was not broken during the eighteenth century can be attributed to the lack of vocabulary. Foucault and Bourdieu did not maintain or possess the language to classify and categorize individuals. Bourdieu, more so than Foucault, has a str onger voice in regards to the conceptualization of the female model. Foucault and Bourdieu are commonly wed by the philosophical ideology of post structuralism. This school of thought, similar to post modernism, allows for more critical analysis through re flection upon over determination. For example, both theorists deconstruct mind/body dualisms arriving at agreement about embodiment, which is predicated upon men. However, how can Foucault address embodiment

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56 without discussing gender? Specifically, he dis misses any claims centering on women. Nevertheless, feminist scholars recognize this flaw in Foucault's argument. One would think that Foucault would have examined the female perspective when he addressed embodiment, as it has significance to both equality and sexual difference (strong themes in his work). On the contrary, Bourdieu examines sexual orientation as sexual difference. Furthermore, he argues that it is through the body that the person becomes individualized. Despite these differences and similar ities, both theorists are woefully missing the feminine vocabulary and subject within their respective works. The clashing of gender roles can easily be linked to other issues of social construction, and this is where Bourdieu begins his research to show why we need to rethink the exclusionary nature of the gender binary. Brain gender, or hard wiring of gender performativity, is a recent term that scientists have approached from a scientific view that affirms the notion that gender is inherently innate from the age of 3. I would argue that this rings true because we cannot control the cognitive behavioural patterns of children. This is significant to the person who honestly asks what makes a threeyear old boy with no sense of sexuality want to put on a dress. On the other hand, what makes the three year old girl want to play with trucks? Children do not decide their gender roles. They do not pick the color blue and know his/her assigned gender. Cissexual children are inherently influenced by social constructionism because, as Bourdieu would articulate, their surroundings are responsible for their gender performance. However, he neglects the fact that transgender people have a gender that is not aligned with their biological sex. Because of th is, the sex gender confusion gives people the wrong impression that this is a choice. This erroneous belief keeps transgender people from learning gender -

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57 appropriate behaviour in their formative years and making them very socially awkward when they transit ion. The exclusionary nature of the gender binary is problematic because it does not allow those who do not fit into this script to be excluded from any kind of discourse other than heteronormativity. The dualism created from the gender binary has elicited a conservative ideology of how males and females should behave in society by conforming to traditional standards of masculine or feminine behaviours. From this social imperative, traditionalism of gender performativity was established. I would a rgue that from this discourse, the division of the sexes was determined and a social prescription was written that outlined gender roles. Historian Jo B. Paoletti contends, The march toward gender specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and bl ue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out (Paoletti, 2011) Paoletti emphasizes the significant differences in the positioning of gender specific colors by identifying that, in the early nineteenth century, pink was a more red dominant color, chosen to highlight male masculinity, whereas blue was a much softer co lor that was cooler for girls. For trans* individuals who do not fit into two color categories options are limited; however, it is not surprised that male to female trans* identify with the color pink and vice versa for femaleto male trans* adopting the color blue Butler: Gender Performativity/Said: Orientalism In her text, Gender Trouble (1990), Judith Butler looks at how gender is a construction rather than a part of ones being. Butler contends, Sex is before the law

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58 in the sense that it is culturally and politically undetermined, providing the raw material of culture, as it were, that begins to signify only through and after in subjection to the rules of kinship (p.50). By this, Butler means to illustrate how both biological male/female bodies (the raw material) offer no essential role in determining masculinity/femininity. Therefore, there is no inherent hierarchizing one gender over another based on pure biology. However, Butler takes issue with the notion that bodies are before the law or pu re given nature. For Butler, the natural body is just as much a construction as gender is. Gender rules do not fix onto the sexed body. Rather, in Butlers mind, both the body and gender are always in play. The body performs gender in varying degrees. Similarly, Edward Said, in Orientalism, argues that Orientalism constructs the orient as biologically inferior. The important thing to note is that Said argues that Orientalism constructed the Orient in opposition to the Occident. In defining the East, Orientalism also defined the West. Said defines the orient as biologically inferior, feminine, and the object of knowledge while defining the occident as: biologically superior, masculine, and the producer of knowledge. This binary construction makes colonial domination natural. Saids text is looking at literature (fiction, drama) that describes the orient as exotic, alluring, captive; consequently, language that one would utilize to describe a woman. Using the Orient, Foucauldian language like the f eminine body is ripe for conquest. To simply say that Orientalism was a rationalization of colonial rule is to ignore the extent to which colonial rule was justified in advance by Orientalism, rather than after the fact. (Said, 1978) Both Butler and Said offer explanatory models for understanding the construction of transgender identity. I use Butlers concept of gender performativity

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59 to suggest how moving socie ty can move society away from traditional categories, beyond the historic division of male/female categories. Said and Butler, in the notion that established power fixes identities, wants to hold them in one place, but the body and gender are fluid and not fix able. Just as the Orient cannot simply be the Other in order to make her co nquerable. Just as the body is not naturally male or female, these too are fixatives, categories designed to secure identities to the organs. But Butlers point is that organs only signify what culture wants them to signify. The trans individual knows t hat the body and gender categories are fluid together within each other. Said offers a model of discourse analysis; he looks to the East versus the West, and it is this division that can help to create gender suppression of the transgender competitor s pla ce in society. By looking at how trans people are described and constructed, I hope to show the artificial identity society has created of humans like me.

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60 CHAPTER V I MEDIA AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION: FIRST CONTACT JENNER Caitlyn Jenners new reality show I am Cait is a perfect example of the problems existing in the transgender community. For people who do not know better, it may appear on the surface that the LGBT community is supportive of all of its members However, if you do an indep th analysis of the attitudes and issues in the LGBT community, it is evident that there is less attention focused on transgender issues. In the show I am Cait, Jenner appears to be unable to escape the limited perspective her privilege as a wealthy, white woman has caused. This is not to say that she is actively ignoring the issues of trans people of color or trans people in poverty, but it can be observed through her show, and the people surrounding her, that she surrounds herself with people who are also ignorant of transgender issues. The media thinks that it is acceptable to disrespect the identities of transgender individuals by listing their former name even when it is irrelevant. This practice is commonly called dead naming, (Steinmetz, 2015) because it refers to an identity that is dead to the transgender person in question. It is an act of aggression to deny a transgender persons identity by the deceptive use of their name assigned at birth. It is deceptive in all instances, because it p erpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to refer to transgender people in such a way. This practice is applied to transgender people both living and dead, and it is inexcusable. To the living, it is a reminder that the society in which they live will not treat the m with the respect they are due. To the decease it shows their lack of respect for the dead. This is most poignantly illustrated with the murder of Gwen Araujo in 2002 and the subsequent trial of Jose Merel, Paul Merel, and Nicole Brown In the trial and

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61 all media coverage, Gwen was erroneously referred to by her birth name, a name that she had legally changed two years prior to her death (Megino, 2012, ) and it obfuscated the issues surrounding the trial. There was no legitimate reaso n to refer to Gwen by that name and yet the media and the legal system relished in tearing her down by misnaming and misgendering her, constantly. We can see the parallels in how the media is relishing using Ms. Jenners former name despite it not being co rrect. This is not a practice that is applied to cisgender people. Very few people refer to Marilyn Monroe as Norma Jean. The same goes for Marilyn Manson, whose birth name Brian Hugh Warner, is never referred to when discussing him. Marshal Mathers, also known as rap star Eminem We know why this is so: Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Manson became famous under these names. However, for non famous people, should not a level of care be applied to represent them for who they are, not an identity that misrepresents them? If the media stopped here, it would be bad enough, but the media perpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to ask transgender people questions that they would never think to ask cisgender people. These are not questions about the most salient element s of the transgender experience such as housing, employment and public accommodations discrimination, but intimate questions about their genitals. These are questions that I sincerely doubt the media has ever asked a cisgender person but somehow, decency a nd manners get thrown out the window when a transgender person is sitting opposite an interviewer. So, for example, Ms. Jenner is forced to answer questions that are not just inappropriate but prodding towards her anatomy. Questions that should be best left to sexual partners and medical professionals.

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62 So, the question remains, if transgender people and their identity is consistently denied the most basic respect why would we think that in such an environment, a transgender competitor is playing on an e qual playing field to her cisgender competitors? Even from the most basic logistical issues, such as navigating hotel accommodations to more complex issues as what restroom to use, the transgender competitor is fraught with a logical nervousness that cannot be resolved simply by breathing or therapy or growing in skill. Unlike their cisgende r butch lesbian competitor, trans* competitors cannot simply shed their clothes and dress in a more conservative fashion in order to serve the prejudices and whims of th e patriarchy. It is a question of identity. Transgender Politics Politically, the transgender community faces innumerable challenges. From the legal recognition of our gender or identity on documents to the right to marry, our lives encompass a direction t hat is often dictated by many different sides, few of which include transsexual people. Three main factions stand as obstacles to transgender equality in todays society. The first group consists of leaders in the religious right fuelled by homophobia. The ir mission seems to be creating sweeping laws and policies that hinder the constitutional rights and lives of transgender and other marginalized people. The second group consists of people in the gay/lesbian community often use the transgender population a s a bargaining chip to subcategorize the differences between their less visible or fringe members (i.e. drag queen versus transsexual, pre op versus post op.) This is most common in legal battles. Mainstream gay/lesbian society seems to have little proble m dropping the transgender protection from any law

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63 in order to help it get passed. This is often accompanied with empty promises such as Well come back for you. This debacle is evident with the Human Rights Campaign, which claims to protect the rights o f the LGBT community but refuses to support a gender identity inclusive ENDA, which would have protected the transgender population. The third roadblock is comprised of transgender people who, for whatever personal reason, de transition and join the religious based ex gay movement or similar religious organization They work hard to limit the rights of transgender people or people who transitioned for the wrong reasons and are thus detrimental to other transgender people. Examples of the latter in clude Renee Richards, whose disparaging remarks about transgender athletes and expressions of regret for her own transition have been quoted by reporters from Tennis Magazine the Associated Press, and The New York Times : I wish there could have been an alternative way, but there wasnt in 1975. If there was a drug that I could have taken that would have reduced the pressure, I would have been better off staying the way I was a totally intact person. I know that deep down that Im a second class woman. I get a lot of inquiries from wouldbe transsexuals, but I dont want anyone to hold me out as an example to follow. Today there are better choices, including medication, for dealing with the compulsion to crossdress and the depression that comes from gend er confusion. As far as being fulfilled as a woman, Im not as fulfilled as I dream of being. I get a lot of letters from people who are considering having this operation and I discourage them all. (Richards, 1999) The psychological reasons for why people do not understand the of the transgender is two fold: the first reason is religion and the second is the idea of being or wanting to become a woman. This misnomer creates an unfair label that is universally applied even in the LGBT culture. People do not understand anything but the gender binary. Religion scares and instils a sense of fear, hell, and damnation for those who believe in God and those who are said to practice a moral lifestyle. Heteronormativity

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64 is the poster child for morality. When men ar e attracted to anyone else other women, it elicits a question of moral judgment from a source that could hardly be considered moral if it were written in our modern day world. This is greatly felt and observed by many gay and lesbian individuals who are torn and afflicted about his/her, they, them, or their own sexualities and sexual orientation. To further extend my arguments, I must argue that sex is different from gender. The definition of sex refers to ones biology, chromosomes, and genitalia. Gender refers to ones psychological/outer gender performance. This is where the conflation of choice and the social construction of gender arise. Who chooses to openly undergo so many harsh criticisms, being ostracized or facing homelessness and disinheritance? All of these are elements that I have suffered and endured in my own experiences. Who wishes to change their eye color as if they were to wish to change their sexual orientation? This is biological and should not be refuted. I would also contend that our environments have a significant role in shaping our gender. Even though I was raised traditionally, in a ma chismo and male centered househ old, it couldnt be denied that I imitated my mothers behaviour. Is sexuality a choice? Can you choose or decide for yourself who you want to be intimate with? How does our society view sexuality from the lens of the gender binary? These are rhetorical questions that have plagued many of us at some point in our lives. These questions run rampant for many trans people, and unfortunately, the labels associated with these questions are misdirected and misguided upon the trans community. This is weapon and tool used to silence the voices of the minority by engaging in practices of exclusion. Transgender Athletes

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65 Unlike their cisgender counterparts, transgender athletes go through an unreasonable amount of scrutiny in order to just compete on equal footing in the athletic world. From policies that were started from erroneous assumptions generated during the red scare to, trans gender people get the short end of the stick. In this chapter, discuss the history of discrimination against transgender athletes and the progress that has been made thus far in making sure transgender athletes can compete on equal footing with their cisgender counterparts. The standard by which we treat transgender athletes in the athletic world is starting to become more humane and logical, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopting a more inclusive policy toward transgender athletes. Even nonprofessional leagues such as the Womens Flat Track Derby Association have gone above and beyond the IOC and created a much more inclusive gender policy. The forensics community could, if it so desired, take a page from their playbook and try to honestly study how they could be more inclusive of transgender rhetors. On October 28, 2003, the IOC s Medical Commission convened in Stockholm, Sweden, to discuss how to be more inclus ive of transgender athletes in the 2004 Athens games. They came up with a policy known as the the Stockholm Consensus that is comprised of three main requirements that the competitor must meet in order to compete. They must (a) have had sex reassignment surgery, (b) they must have legal recognition of their gender and (c), they must have been on hormone replacement therapy for at least two years. While imperfect, this is a much more progressive policy than they previously had (International Olympic Committee, 2003) For example, a transgender person may not be able to legally change their gender in certain countries or states. Additionally, this also create s a financial litmus

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66 test if a person has to pay for certain aspects of their transition, the most expensive of which can sex reassignment surgery. We know that if Caitlyn Jenner had tried to compete for the medal in 1978 and had t ri ed in her true identity instead of bei ng identified as Bruce Jenner, she would not have been able to compete according to the IOC rules at the time. In 1966, the International Association of Athletics Federation started requiring female athletes to undergo gender tests because they suspected that Communist countries were disguising male athletes as females for the Olympic games. After a full examination in the nude with a gynaecologist, they were given a Certificate of Femininity. (Ferguson, 2015) The integrity of the practice is questionable, and rests on outda ted muting of the gender binary. To require trans* woman to perform an exam to prove womanhood only reinforces discriminatory language and prejudice. This disgusting practice was even satirised on the television show Futurama where a robot named Bender performed i n the female section of a bending contest for his fictional country, Robonia just to win Olympic medals Once it came time for the competitors to undergo a gender test, Bender begged Professor Farnsworth to change his sex so he could win the medal. (Purdu m & Rowe, 2003)

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67 Figure 2 : Bender in Futurama, after passing the gender test. What is more interesting though, is that a nonprofessional sports league, made up of teams that make no salary and are full of volunteers who play and judge for the fun of it, has a much more progressive policy than the IOC. The Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) a league of non professional athletes who participate in competitive roller derby has a much more progressive gender policy than does the IOC. Whereas the IOC requires that a competitor must meet the requirements of the Stockholm Consensus, the WFTDA only requires a competitor to provide a letter from her physician affirming her gender. There is no stated surgical or endocrinological requirement for the competitor to meet. Gender Performance The patriarchy has some rigid ideas about how women and men are supposed to act. Multiple forces come together to create a false impression that gender and sex are one in the same, those forces including capitalism, the patriarchy and religion.

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68 According t o Kate Bornstein, in an interview with Mandy van Deven of Herizons magazine: [The] value of breaking the gender binary will be to use what weve learned to help break down the false binaries masking hierarchal vectors of oppression namely age, race, class, religion, looks, ability, language, citizenship, family and reproductive status and sexuality. We did something really smart with gender and we did it while having a whole lot of fun. Now it s our job to help do that with all those other isms. (2011) A t ransition to a persons actual gender may be impossible for transgender competitors due to several factors from without but there is also one factor that is within the transgender community poisoning it from its roots. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), an organization whose principal activities are to define standards by which the transgender community can access critical health care, has developed an incredibly pedantic set of requirements that are largely accepted by the medical community that compromises the integrity of both the medical and psychological communities. Those requirements are called the Standards of Care and it is near impossible to get even the most basic health care in the United States, Canada, and Europe without jumping through its hoops. It gives psychologists the authority to stop medical treatment and many times creates a need for transgender patients to lie to mental health professionals or not address issues in order to continue to receive medical care. This compromises the trust that a patient should have with both her physician and her therapist. There have been efforts by some physicians to open some medical care under less restrictive requirements. Tom Waddell of San Francisco came up with the Waddell Standards which are used by many different clinics to this day and allow easier access to hormone replacement therapy. Identity Politics, Perception and Our Values

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69 In thi s thesis, I have discussed the campaigns of Sarah Palin and Herman Cain, in contrast to the campaigns and political lives of Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. Both political parties have run candidates on the national stage that are members of a minority but we can see a clear difference when we analyze the minority political candidates on the national stage and compare them against their counterparts in the other party. Whereas Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are serious candidates that are formidable an d have an air of integrity, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain objectively do not. Sarah Palin was full of scandal that she did not disclose to the McCain campaign when she was being vetted. Examples include her husbands membership in the Alaskan Independence Party, the situation with Trooper Michael Wooten (effectively known as Troopergate) and the flip flop on the Bridge to Nowhere. Herman Cains campaign was essentially a joke campaign given the number of times he made references to pop culture media in spee ches and campaign promises that were supposed to be serious in nature and delivered with a sober tone. These completely different people on both sides of the political field show the differences of perception of the minority communities to which these two people belonged. The fact that the Republicans nominated and supported candidates who were objectively inept at their job shows how they view AfricanAmericans and women. Perception is important and the media informs public perception of any minority Tra nsgender people are also victims of this. Transgender women have a harder time adhering to a cisgender standard of beauty and it can have a silencing effect on their voices. Especially in high school and college, where a trans competitor may not

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70 have the f inances nor the agency to undergo a complete transition, unlike someone like Caitlyn Jenner. As previously discussed, a vast majority of the United States being religious, this may negatively impact a transgender persons ability to transition while in sch ool either because they are a minor or because they are receiving financial assistance from their parents while in college.

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71 CHAPTER VI I T RANSGENDER C OMPETITORS IN THE FORENSICS COMMUNITY In this final section I will define the forensics community then I will look into data and introduce a qualitative survey given to participants at Colorado College on October 2426, 2014 and also given to high school participants at Overland High School on February 8, 2015. The data collected from this survey indicates that over 44% of participants surveyed were slightly comfortable and 24% were uncomfortable with discussing and judging transgender competitors in the forensics community. What this represents is one out of four participants surveyed were uncomfortable wi th working with transgender competitors in the forensics community. Next, I will address the authentic self versus the in authentic self and how that mirrors my own struggles as a competitor and judge in the forensics community. Finally, I will examine the judges role describing my own experience as a judge for 15 years in the high school and college forensics communities. Defining the Fo rensics Community 21% 16% 41% 22%Survey results from all respondents Neutral Comfortable Slightly Comfortable Uncomfortable

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72 Refer to the individual survey responses in the appendix. QUESTION PARTICIPANT RESPONSE COACH JUDGE COMPETITOR "Do transgender competitors have a fair or unfair advantage as competitors in the debate community?" P#7: "Unfair. Judges might feel distracted. They could perceive incorrectly due to bias or more likely, misinterpretation ." STUDENT "Describe how comfortable you feel if you had a transgender teammate?" P#33: "I am not certain. I do not have any tran sgender teammates, and I understand that relationships have a way of changing you. Thus, I must speculate that I would be uncomfortable at first." STUDENT "Are there issues around LGBTQQIA Debate competitors which you would like further training? P#16: "I'd like to learn more about the person affects of the LGBT community in Debate." JUDGE/ COACH Authentic Self vs. Inauthentic Self Transition for transgender persons acknowledges that the sociocultural reality of life begins a new phase in his/her new body. For example, Fred lived as Fred for 22 years. Fred has five fingers, five toes, can walk and ta lk. Once Fred becomes Sue, she must learn how to navigate the world in a new lens. Sues sociocultural experiences become real in her new body. It is important to note that Sue is now only a few weeks into her new transition. Sue is still a socio cultural infant having surmised her outlook in everyday praxis through her given and categorized identity. This is significant because the cisgender lens must take at look at age and think back

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73 to how old you were when you begin to see life post puberty. Positing the immature and unthinkable reactions to societal problems. This is also false. Under the cisgender method of thought, t his may seem true, but Sue was never Fred because one important point to understand is that transgender identity is retroactive. Sue was never Fred; she was pretending to be Fred in a society that fails to understand the idiosyncrasies of transgender ident ity. This is why activists use terms such as coercively assigned male at birth. According to Jessica Sideways (2014, 15), what we do know is that people choose to change their sex when they feel that they cannot live comfortably or genuinely as a membe r of their birth sex. Survey Analysis During the process of gathering participants to complete the anonymous survey, I found the process to be incredibly challenging. First, I felt they questioned my presence as a judge in the forensics community. Secondly, I was not sure if the participants w ould take the survey seriously. At the end of both debate and oral interpretation rounds, I asked competitors if they would feel comfortable completing a survey for my research for this thesis. Surprisingly, all the competitors in my rounds completed the s urvey. It became increasingly difficult to resist reading the survey responses during my next rounds. However, it was important to resist in order to avoid creating a bias when judging the remaining rounds of the tournament. It was my experience that the judges were more hesitant than competitors to complete my survey as evidenced by my inability to receive the judges surveys until four months later. The judging community is comprised of previous debate competitors, retired teachers and a small cadre of p eople from the community who

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74 have judged for years. Only two coaches, at both tournaments, have completed the surveys and other judges became hesitant after reading the questions. One of the limitations of my own research is that I did not address housing for transgender competitors while competing in tournaments far away, and this issue is still unresolved. For future research, I would like to look at how and why compulsory heterosexuality not only requires but demands gender performance based on sexual or ientation while housed. I leave you with this last rhetorical question, where does the transgender competitor lay her or his head after twelve rounds of debate and sixteen rounds of interp at a national debate tournament?

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75 CHAPTER VII I: C ONCLUSION In this thesis, I have addressed the importance of the transgender forensics competitor and why their voices have been silenced on a multi factorial level. I have demonstrated transphobia and strengthened this issue with self reflexive autoethnography. I have looked at scholars such as Foucault, Butler, Swartz, Said, Fields and Birkholt, arriving at how contemporary issues force us all to examine our own privilege. Future Scholarship I would like to wish future transgender competitors an open invitation to read a bout my experiences and learn from them. I would also caution future transgender competitors about the demand for compulsory heterosexuality and cissexuality in the forensics community and our every day lives. When you, the instructor or professor, posit the question What does the transgender competitor look like? I can officially say, she is me.

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78 Ganim, S., & Sayers, D. (2014, October 23). UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing. In CNN.com Re trieved September 1, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/us/unc report academicfraud/ Goldberg, M. (2014, August 4). What Is a Woman?. In The New Yorker. Retrieved August 6, 2015, from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/04/woman2 Greene, B. (2012, October 1). When candidates said 'no' to debates. In CNN.com Retrieved September 12, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/30/opinion/greene debates/ Heck, J. (2015, June 5). IOC says Caitlyn Jenner can keep her gold medal, despite petition. In Sporting News Retrieved September 12, 2015, from http://www.sportingnews.com/sport/story/201506 05/ioc says caitlyn jenner can keep her gold medal despite peti tion Herbert, S. (2010). Butch/Femme, F2M, Pregnant Man, Tranny Boi: Gender Issues in the Lesbian Community. Journal of Gay & Lesbian International Olympic Committee. (2003, November 11). Statement of the Stockholm consensus on sex reassignment in sports In International Olympic Committee Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://www.olympic.org/documents/reports/en/en_report_905.pdf Kaplan, S. (2015, June 5). No, the IOC will not revoke Caitlyn Jenners Olympic medal. In The Washington Post Retrieved August 7, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning mix/wp/2015/06/05/nothe ioc willnot revoke caitlyn jenners medal/ Keifer, E. (2015, August 14). This Married Couple Just Won A Major Victory For LGBT Rights. In Refinery29 Retrieved Septem ber 12, 2015, from http://www.refinery29.com/2015/08/92392/coloradolgbt rights victory masterpiececakeshop Kornacki, S. (2011, March 26). The fate that Geraldine Ferraro didnt deserve. In Salon.com Retrieved August 5, 2015, from http://www.salon.com/2011/03/26/geraldine_ferraro/

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82 Women's Flat Track Derby Association. (n.d.). Gender Policy. In Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://wftda.com/wftda gender policy

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83 VIII. A PPENDIX APPENDIX A KEY TERMS Cisgender/Cissexual a person who feels that their birth sex aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth. Debate Community an elite collegiate/high school community in which participants all across the country and the world engage/compete in rhetorical discourse Forensics a community that engages in oral performance; including: policy debate platform events, and Interpretation Events Heteronormativity praxis of the heterosexual community at large Passing Privilege those who can quietly assimilate into the dominant culture narrativ e Social Construction the construction of gender performance in the current binary Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (or TERF) A person who pretends to be a feminist while fighting to deny the recognition of the identities of and civil rights for t ransgender people. Transgender an individual whose assigned gende r no longer aligns with acquired/desired or current gender presentation. Transphobia the fear of or a dislike directed towards trans people, or a fear of or dislike directed towards thei r perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics, whether or not any specific trans person has that lifestyle or characteristic. The dislike does not have to be so severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from doing something bec ause they do not like trans people. (Crown Prosecution Service, 2007)