Water Cooler: 4 Simple Rules for Fixing the College Season


The Eighth Man welcomes letters to the editor and article submissions from the general public on our website. Send your work to editors@eighthman.com. This submission is by Max Klaw, a transgender athlete on University of Illinois. Klaw’s pronouns are he/him/his. 

As a transgender person, USQ Rulebook 13, Section 1.2.3.C, means the world to me. “The gender that a player identifies as is considered to be that player’s gender”–this single line is one of the major factors that drew me to quidditch. But, despite the inclusivity of the sport’s rulebook, I feel as though many in the quidditch community are unsure how to interact with or talk about gender to gender non-conforming teammates. 

This is definitely understandable, as many do not encounter gender non-conforming people until they get to college. But, as a community, we need to do better. Quidditch is at the cutting edge when it comes to gender and gender identity, but we need to continue to put in the effort to improve if we hope to stay that way. So, to help us all along, here are some ways that we can all work to be a little more inclusive. 

  1. Ask everyone about their gender identity–not just the players with ambiguous gender expression. Just make sure to do so in a discreet way, and not just in front of the whole team. One option is to update your team or tournament sign-up sheet to include gender identity on the Google form. Remember to leave the response field open-ended to allow your players to express their gender themselves.
  2. During your introductory practices–or, really, anytime you have new players around–ask people to also say their pronouns when they say their names. This is no more difficult than asking someone’s year or major, but the small change instantly signals to someone who identifies as trans that they are in a safe environment.
  3. Don’t ever tell a transgender teammate to identify as a different gender to manipulate the team’s gender ratio. Even as a joke. I’m not sure how often this happens, but it has happened to me. Luckily, in my case, a teammate called out this player for even suggesting the idea, but not everyone is that fortunate. 
  4. If you are the captain of a team that has a trans player–or really a captain of any team–do some research to educate yourself. Go to your school’s LGBTQ+ resource center, or the internet, to learn about gender identities so that you can make the best decisions for all of your players and make your team a more inclusive space.

Gender is complex and confusing, and unlearning behavior is hard–it’s even hard for trans people. It’s okay to mess up–accidents happen!–but as long as we all put in good-faith efforts to improve, I know we can make this community more inclusive for all.

To learn more, check out these links:
https://transequality.org/about-transgender
https://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies







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