Boston's is not the only marathon to recognize transgender runners' preferred "gender identities"; the AP notes that Chicago, London, Los Angeles, and New York City marathon organizers have made similar decisions, using similar logic.
It's unclear, however, whether the BAA would allow individuals to compete if they identify with a different gender than what's on their license. One common argument is that transgender women have a physical advantage.
The annual Boston Marathon begins on Monday, April 16, but this year the event comes with a dose of transgender politics. She says that post-surgery recovery time made her reluctant to undergo gender confirmation surgery, but the thought of achieving one of her biggest goals - running in the Boston Marathon - pushed her to surgery. In the last few years, transgender runners simply signed up and ran without the imprimatur of the group overseeing the race. Comments in the story included some concerns that the transgender racers' elevated testosterone levels would give them an unfair advantage. In Boston, registrants will be required to show government-issued ID in order to obtain a bib number, and that is compared to the gender that the runner has identified with when registering for the race.
"To be able to experience it as me was really, really important", she said. "I wanted to run the first 10 miles pretty easy, maintain or go slightly faster for the second 10 miles and then see how I felt with six miles left and try to pick it up".
Right now, Holtzclaw said she is just excited to take a week off from running but she was quick to point out that she is open to running more marathons in the future.
For trans women who do lower their testosterone levels, medical experts say there's no evidence of an athletic advantage. However, Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, the director of education and training programs at the Fenway Institute, (which also serves as a health and advocacy center for the LGBT community in Boston) doesn't agree with the assessment that transgender women have a competitive edge.
"There's no physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth", says Keuroughlian.
Rather, trans women who take medication to lower their testosterone levels often face side effects such as dehydration, sluggishness and reduced stamina - which can all spell disaster for marathon training, the Associated Press reported.
Gapin, the runner from New Jersey, said she had to overcome major setbacks during her transition.
Women were barred from officially entering in the Boston Marathon until 1971. "Actually running it is sort of a victory lap for what I've accomplished".
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