Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E41: USAPL, Are You Even Listening?

January 11th 2021
In this episode, we brought to the table Val Schull (@buff.zaddy.schullk) and Kresenda Keith (@eds_athlete) to discuss the performative changes of USAPL’s new powerlifting categories (Mx, Adaptive, Pa... More
this is disabled girls who lift, We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours. One podcast at a time, it's mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mhm. Mhm. Hey folks, welcome to another episode of disabled girls who live. Let's talk some sh it about that new you CPL stuff again. I'm Marcia, I am in south florida on Seminole Land we have presented back. Hi, welcome back baby and mary Beth will introduce our new guest. Yeah, Hey all, it's mary Beth over in northern California, also sitting on a lonely land with Kris Sanda, one of my very few pacific standard Time um friends over here at the stable girl and we've got such an amazing guest joining us today. I'm super excited for Val Zaidan shul uh to join us over from indiana, I think also in Eastern time, Eastern time, but they are 1/5 year PhD candidate at Purdue University studying agriculture and bioengineering.

Uh they've been power lifting right consistently strength training during grad school and um I know you've volunteered and actually competed at pull for pride, which was a pretty dope competition all throughout the nation. Um and then also participate in women's strength coalition, which we absolutely love and support on this podcast and in our community. So welcome Val Thank you for joining us today. Thanks. It's a pleasure to be here today. Yeah, super happy to have you on. So, I mean before we get into the dumpster fire of these categories. Um just so we can have a little background for anyone that happens to be new on this show or you're new to us. Well, like where we've been what we've been up to, it's like who are we to even comment on this? Right. So val where have you been your power lifting? You're competing if you've done federations where you coming from?

Yeah, sure. So I have been competing in power lifting since 2016 and I've competed both in U. S. P. A. As well as RPS in terms of the federation's um in terms of being openly out as a trans and non binary lifter, I've done that Through RPS starting in 20 19 and I've competed twice as uh under no gender. And um the way that the federation has handled my uh non binary and trans identities has been to put me in their adaptive open category. Which we could get into about how that's not quite where I would like to be but that is how they have handled the situation. Um ideally I would like to see an Mx category. Um Of course one that is affirming it is not uh in a way that U.

S. A. P. L. Has handled things but um that's how I've been comps heating with with that federation. Uh That's about five years. Yeah of competing in parallel thing. So as it stands RPS doesn't have like an outright trans athlete band then. No it doesn't, it does have a policy on their website on how trans women and trans men can compete. Um However, there's no outline in terms of folks who are non binary. And so in the future, I hope that as we continue to have these kinds of conversations that we would be able to uh have categories that are affirming. Um I know that there are folks who are identified as non binary and feel totally comfortable uh competing as in women and men categories, but for me, it uh didn't quite fit for my gender identity and to feel affirmed. So I'm very happy that they've tried to start the conversation and how to be able to include me.

Um and to be able to continue to compete. And so I'm pretty happy that we are having these conversations even though they're really hard conversations to have. Um but I think that they're important conversations and um I hope that as we have more people uh having these conversations that we have uh better policies in place so that everyone could not only feel affirmed but feel included in the power lifting sports and strength training and strength spaces in general. Yeah. In general. So I've done mostly when I was powerlifting, it was usa pl which is very cut and dry. It's like you're in this class, you pick man woman, you pick your weight and that's it. Like if you need something adaptive fuck off if you want trans funk off. Like if you want anything outside of this black and white little box that we created like you're out. Um And honestly Strongman is kind of pretty much the same.

It's not like you would think it would be different because it's not a drug tested sport, but it's not so like that makes no sense to me. Um I can't remember which Strongman corporations have made any sort of um policies regarding trans athletes but for sure, nobody has anything about Mx categories. For sure. Nobody's even talking about non binary. Um And then some of them like Strong and corp have a trans van I think. Or did they do the IOC thing. I'm not sure. But whatever they had, it doesn't make sense because again, it's not a drug tested federation. Like what do you what? I'm trying to quit? I mean and you know, thankfully RPS is inclusive in some regard. But why do you think um they just threw you in the adaptive open category? Was that just an easy like shortcut to since there weren't any specific rules outlined at the moment, Like we know that rule books can't be written overnight, but with more and more conversation with Mx athletes on binary um And trans athletes and adaptive athletes like we can create a solution together.

But why do you think in the moment? Because you've been doing it for five years now. sure. So I've competed in that division um since 2019 and I've done it twice I believe. And I'm not sure. I reached out to um the president of the federation um as well as the need director. Um in terms of explaining that I'm non binary trans, um I would like to compete, but current policies in place don't take into account my gender identity. And so I reached out and was hoping to see if they would be a way to um include me in the sport because I had signed up for a meet and I was not quite ready to In 2018 to come out. And so what I did was I signed up for my assigned gender untested. But then 2018, that's when, you know, the US it kind of gained a lot of traction in terms of uh within the power lifting community.

And so I felt that I couldn't just continue to be closeted and um it was always really difficult to me um to try to figure out where I could fit within the binary. And the reality is that I don't and um and I just uh you know, when you're going into a competition, the last thing you want to do is to be thinking about other things aside from lifting really heavy weight. And so but like even just trying to get to sign up, I'm like, am I willing to get mis gendered and and the reality is no, I shouldn't have to be. And so, you know, with the trans ban threw us a pl uh I really decided that it was important not just to me, but you know, to trans lifters, non binary lifters that I be open about my gender identity and compete as some my true gender identity and feel affirmed while doing so. But to answer your question on why I'm not sure.

I was essentially told this is how you'll compete. And I was like, okay, that's not ideal, but it's a start. And um I was hoping that as more non binary lifters, oh, who don't feel like they like they are affirmed in those in their gender categories that are currently in place. Um Maybe more policy will be put into place that allows folks to have an Mx category that would let people be affirmed in the strength space. Yeah. Before before we talk about why that category and us mpl is the opposite of what you just explain. I do want to start it because we're not going to assume that everybody knows what we're talking about. Like what does mx even mean? What do you mean affirmed? What do you mean your gender identity? Like explain to me? Like, I'm five. Like I just came off the street. I've never heard of these things. Why do you care about this? Like what does this mean? Sure. So the mx category, the best way to describe it would be that it would be a gender neutral category.

Um Honestly, I think that there are aspects that if if you want to compete in an Mx category regardless of your assigned gender birth. Right? So when everyone is born, they get assigned a gender. Male, Female. Um And so I think that if you'd like to compete in the Mx category, even if you're not trans, um and your sister, which means that you identify as your assigned gender at birth, you should be able to compete in the Americas category because gender is complex maybe. Right? And and there's a lot of identities that uh people can have. And so this is kind of like a gender neutral category that people can feel affirmed, which means that they don't feel like they're being other mis gendered or misrepresented in their own identity. That being said. Uh there's also write the binary categories of man and women or female and male in sports.

And so there are folks who are trans and binary, which means that they identify as men and as women. And so and they are men and women. And so they feel affirmed when they compete in the category that aligns with their gender. So for people who are outside of those categories, right, Those people could be used in an umbrella term of non binary. Um And there's many identities within that. And uh if you are interested in having a space that is affirming you could have binary categories and you can also have a gender neutral category that kind of captures uh that non binary umbrella. Um that being said there are non binary people who, which is, which is why I'm indicated that it may be uh complicated who uh feel like they are non binary but still would like to either present themselves as their assigned gender at birth or a certain gender within the binary.

And that doesn't invalidate them. It just means that that is how they feel that right, most comfortable in the world. And so, um there's still non binary folks who compete within the binary. And that's okay too. And I think that I think that it's important that folks who don't feel affirmed within the binary do have that space to be able to compete because right, when it comes to competition day, um I feel like that shouldn't even be on your mind, right? Like that's not on the mind of cysts, folks, that's not on the mind of able bodied folks, like they're just there to compete. And when, you know, when these people from that are not, you know, sis who are not able bodied come into the arena then and the federation or the sport isn't taking into account accessibility, it just causes so many external factors and it's not just about right lifting anymore. It's like, yeah, you won't even show up at that point like, you know what? Never mind. There's so many obstacles right?

Like or even getting to the platform that folks don't take into account when it comes to this because you know, even signing up, it's like when you make it like a a membership form or a meat form and right away there's like uh an assumption right? That like one your sis and to your able body. So like so now I have to go reach out to either the meet director, the president and and let them know that like I am interested in competing rather than having these things already thought of beforehand. So then that way folks don't feel like they need to do that extra work because honestly they shouldn't have to. Yeah. Like we just exist and I'd like to exist here also. Hello, it's not that simple. You really you have to dig and try to fight your way in and that may or may not work out. Which is Yeah. And there's just I mean people just don't realize that there's a spectrum to every, there's a spectrum to gender, sexuality.

Uh you know, the autism spectrum just disabilities in general, even multiracial identities. Like there is no binary. The binary first of all, but always repeat what Ilya said. We are obsessed with the binary. It's this or that like get over it. Yeah. And I mean I want to thank you too for sharing that with us because yes, it's something that we as adaptive or disabled athletes just are so far too familiar with, but it's not fucking fair, we shouldn't have to decide on whether, like, we have to disclose this information first of all to some stranger meet director or president, even though we haven't even come out to our parents or family members about that yet, you know, just to be able to compete in a sport that you've been training 5, 10 plus years for you. Just want a spot on stage and show up.

Yeah. And in that primary application, like, you don't feel affirmed you don't feel like welcomed in the sport period. And then you go on to have more conversations and we'll talk about that a little, you know, especially with the USA pl especially with Strongman Core and all these other federations that are just not listening to us. Like, we're telling you how to write the fucking real book because a million of us exist in this country, let alone the world, and you're still not listening. They're just like, now, are you kidding me? Like, I've literally offered to write the rule book and run the rule book for an active division for Strongman and still there, like, falling asleep at the wheel. And it's baffling to me, like we have all these athletes literally willing to do the work for them because we want to be included so badly. And they're just like, I don't I don't understand it.

Yeah, that's okay. It doesn't affect me personally. So like, I'm okay. Like that's pretty much like just like honestly, like, I wish you would. I wish they'd just be honest. Like, just be honest. Just be honest. Don't don't say that were badmouthing. You don't say we're trying to look bad. Don't say oh, well talk to your local meat direct. Like No, Just, just be honest. It doesn't affect me personally. I don't really care. Like. Like if somebody told me that I just said like, honestly, Oh my gosh. But so, so these usa pl categories which they just announced, right? Like there was no hey open forum, We're thinking about this thing. They were just like, boom, this is it. And they were they decided they decided that they would make four new categories, right? I'm gonna start with the one that I think is the funniest one raw with wraps because they are clearly salty that all these other federations are making money with this category. So they added it like that's Like, I think that's the funniest one.

I'm so confused one. That's like, I mean, I don't want to go completely NC 17, but are you calling it raw with wraps by having sex with a condom on and calling it raw. Like it just does not make any sense. So other federations have been doing this. It's been a thing. Like it's a thing kristen that it is like, yeah, USPS show up. You show up like everything is totally normal. Except you have knee wraps. Yeah, because I don't think it makes that big. You gotta go hard on the knee wraps. You have to get this stuff. Things like, like your legs have to be cut off blood flow. And then you get like, I don't know. I don't know how much people Chloe's not on here. She's the one that could tell how much she gets out of the raps. I'm not sure how much, but it's not, it's like Chloe, we need you. It's like, it's like the kiddie pool of acquit lifting, right? Like you don't really want to go all the way in, but like, you want to get wet a little bit. Na no, that's so true.

That's I mean, I've computed wraps like twice just for the squad just for the squad, but you don't want to wear the full suit in the or the dead lift. Like that's uncomfortable. Maybe it's just because my squat sucks, but It's just like the fact that you introduced this category along with all the other ones to try to like blend it all together. Like, Hey, Y'all were being, we're making some change. It's 2021 chuck you you're not though. And the funny. Okay, so before we talk about the other one is one last thing. So I actually read through some of the ship they posted. So they made this new category to be hitting with it, right? But there's nowhere for these raw with rap lifters to go. Like if it happens to be a division at your local meat. Cool. But there is no national level for you. There's no like raw nationals you can't go to because you're not raw. Like there's nothing set up for equipped nationals you could go to, but everybody else is going to have the full suit on well. And I'm I guess I'm a little confused as to why they're making this many concessions for people who want to have this non binary way of lifting for equipment, but they can't do it for literally the rest of the planet.

That's a good point. Like how do I, how do I understand that aspect of it? But not when it comes to gender or ability or literally anything else. I'm just gonna say someone who competes with wraps. I love the non binary perspective lift because it's true. It's like the spectrum of a quick thinker. That's what, that's what was I was so baffled by because I was like, so you understand a spectrum but you do not want to understand the spectrum? Oh my that's intriguing. Alright, so the other category they made is para bench, which I'm confused about because as far as I knew, if you showed up to us a pl and wanted to bench, like what you can't just you can't just bench the para bench partially. Um when you lift for paralympics you actually your legs get strapped down. So I'm guessing that's probably part of it is when your parent benching you're getting strapped down to the actual bed.

But I've seen them allow that before. Yeah I've seen people do that already. That's why I guess. Yeah but now it's official now it's on paper right? But okay. But does this mean that paralympic para lifters are not allowed to compete in the open if they wanted to? That's that's the real question for all of these categories. Yeah. Do they have to compete in para bench only or can they also compete? And open same way a junior lifter can also compete in the open. But and then they also, the other thing they have to let you into the pair bench like you have to you have to meet the required like you can't just show you can't just again like val said you can't just open the application, click click para bench please. Like no they have to say what's your impairment? Okay petition for this waiver. Okay we're going to allow you to be in like and what's funny is they don't understand this idea of like intersectionality because it also says that um you can compete in the pair of bench if you have like one or more of the like listed physical impairments but you have to compete in the male and female categories so you can't be like you can't be disabled and trans or non binary.

It's only one thing pick one apparently. Well like that kind of jumps off of the whole idea of the problems with like disabled strongman and everything of who is making that ultimate determination of if you actually qualify for like para bench or anything like do you do I get a note from my doctor and you take that as okay because even paralympics doesn't allow that you have to jump through hoops and with disabled strongman they tell you fuck you I know better because I'm an old white dude who's been in the sport. So it's like no sense like who's the gate keeping? It really should be like like honestly I don't understand because black and brown people have figured this out for the longest like we out here we got sliding scales like we have all these things that are like hey if you identify as this click fat and like that's it like it should really be that simple. Yeah I don't I don't understand your right like why are you deciding for me, why are you giving me first of all you don't even know all the impairments that exist.

How did you come up with a list? Well not only they I mean there's that but then they just they don't have representatives in these categories at all within their federation. Like have anyone managing and who are experts in managing these categories. You've seen fine Like under. Yeah. Yeah. Their list seems to be based off of the paralympics for the parable for the most part. Yeah. And why would somebody itself is so problematic? Okay. But why would somebody choose? All right. You guys want to make a pair of bench because you're inclusive. But why would somebody say okay, I'm gonna do us a pl if you just copied what already exists, why wouldn't they just go? I don't that's the part where I'm so lost on this because Because they figured those standards are pretty good. This is what disabled strongman did too. As they apply these standards to me without having the doctors in place to actually test those standards and without actually applying the standards to the rest of the athletes in the field.

And so they they just basically copied and pasted the rules without having the actual network in order and without understanding what the rules are. Let alone even asking the fucking community what they think about it. Yeah. I don't get that. They were like, look good enough. We did it. I'm so lost. And there's levels to it. Right? Like who said that? We're not even saying that we like the rules that exist for paralympics right? We're not even saying that I'm just like if it exists already, you just copied pasted it. Why wouldn't I just lifting the paralympics? Like why do I need to live for us a pl to do pair bench. Well because the paralympics take that, I mean that in of itself is such a huge problem of just getting to lift in the paralympics is practically impossible especially if you're a lower income or you're not in the correct area of your country. There's a lot of or in the incorrect country in general. But I guess that doesn't really apply here. But in order to even see a doctor regarding paralympics and in order to even complete your application like your chances of lifting with this organization are higher but at the same time that doesn't make it more inclusive.

No but I'm not doing that. Yeah I mean I understand. Yeah. Just because there's a lot more local usa pl meats and you know you want to compete with your friends that are also competing in usa pl on the state level two we've got state champs and I believe the para bench takes you on to nationals as well. You just don't have the ability to compete in international needs through I. P. F. Which is you know the umbrella for us a peel. That's I mean that's where they stopped, you know it's like okay we're going to add you to our federation yet. You can't be competitive past this limit. Well I think the idea was at least you get recognized and then you can possibly get the financial backing to actually pursue para olympics but they like literally if you were to google inclusivity and I. P. F. For inclusivity and paralympics, you would realize that that's not a good like you can google it and see just how many athletes are being discriminated against and Yeah.

Okay. But that makes sense though because I live in an area where I think sometimes I take that for granted or literally every federation exists except for maybe like U. P. A. Or something like I could find an RPS meat. I could find us a piece of me. I could find a USP AMy. I could find an unsanctioned meat. I could find anything when you put it that way. That makes sense. At least now they could go somewhere if that's all there was around them like Okay. All right. I got it. All right. All right. All right. All right, fine, fine, fine. Okay. And then the other one they have as far as disabilities goes is adaptive athlete, which by the way, meet directors are not required to offer the adaptive athletes. Division, adaptive athletes must be approved by U. S. A. P. L. And also records and rankings will not be maintained mm hmm. You just get a little metal for paying us. What is it? $75 Just is there a discount? Is there an adaptive you get a participation trophy. Come on.

All you want in life is a participation trophy because I mean you're disabled. So do you really want to actually participate? But here's the thing that pisces me off is like, let's say somebody like let's say Chloe's not here. But let's say someone like Chloe wants to be able to use her strap for that hand. Um she's fucking top three in the world, right? Um, so her records and her rankings wouldn't count because she would be forced in usa pl to do adaptive, they wouldn't let her in the open. Mm hmm. Like so if we're adaptive athletes were not worthy. Like what? Well, that's the thing that if her local organization lets her lift it, it wants wants to wants to put in the work. But there's I mean, another thing about us a pl regardless of these categories is their enforcement of all of the equipment, right? There are so few equipment that's allowed in the I. P. F. U. S. A P. L. So, I mean the thing for me and Chloe as well because I worked with her when um I was talking to local meet directors, there's a technical director, the president and then on to I.

P. F. Is that our equipment needs to be our adaptive equipment needs to be approved. Her using a strap. That scene is cheating even though she's missing a few fingers, you know, because they're seeing it in comparison to the able bodied athletes and how this rather than, you know, what's it called rather than an extension of of her arm. Yeah. Or just like leveling the playing field rather than leveling the playing fields and she is missing a few fingers and can't grip on a dead lift. That's seen as an advantage for the adaptive athlete. Like where do accommodations come into play in these sports? They don't they don't exist instead. They're like putting us back into this corner and saying, okay, you can go play over there yet. We haven't even discussed the equipment. Like I can't use my hook because they said it was it was too dangerous for the athletes and spotters and coaches involved.

So does that mean in the hypothetical world if you were in the adaptive athlete um division, you'd be allowed to use whatever you want or what what does it even say? It says. Um And then the other thing is like you said about equipment, like not just the equipment, like the brands, especially once you get to nationals loud because in U. S. A. P. L. It's like that I don't know about everyone else, but in U. S. A. P. L. It has to be like this brand, this brand, This brand, these are approved exactly that. Well, the hilarious thing is there's just not that many brands that make decent ship either. No, what are they gonna do, be like, oh you have to buy this one strap because like my hooks, the hook that I used to use. I gave up and bought them off a wish. So they wouldn't be approved in our make believe probably what's going to happen world, because I couldn't afford the current hooks, the better hooks, like, how does that make any sense? Yeah, well, I think what they're saying is, like, you can compete in this division, and I'm reading one of the rules now, and it says any reasonable, reasonable slash practical accommodations that can be made will be made, and it applies to the actual lifts and weigh in.

So, if we were to present them with what we use in training shit that we've used in other divisions, who didn't even question it, USP a thank you. Um, then they would create that accommodation for us. The thing is we can't use that in the open um, category. Well, the funny thing is, is, you talked about weigh ins, and that's something that my friend Dana brought up to me, she's a think below the knee amputee, they make her way in with her leg, and she's like, but the leg doesn't actually count towards my way, it shouldn't count towards my weight. So it's all these little things that they didn't think about, and they're like, oh, no, we're being fair, and if you read it, they actually created men, right, but they also created some stupid formula to about, like, what percentage of that missing leg should be added to your way. And have you read that? Exactly. Well, no, I didn't, but that was the fact that one of one of the very few minor problems with static monsters was I now have to compete with a strap and over the shoulder strap, the strap weighs about £5.

5 £10. And that weight doesn't actually count towards your total weight is just counted towards your, It doesn't actually exist weight. And I'm like, but it weighs something and we need to talk about that. We need to actually look at addressing that. If you have something that's not actually part of your body, why aren't we addressing that? And it's because we don't want to be bothered. Yeah, we don't wanna be bothered. And imagine if you're someone that's like at the cusp of a weight class and your prosthetic puts you over. Like, can you imagine? Well, I mean that goes even further to uh we don't have weight classes. Oh, there's no way classes. Yeah. So my ask is the same weight class is yours. Yeah, everybody's going to have to be lifting the same minute. Okay, well you don't even uh that's been one of the biggest complaints with adaptive strongman, is that there isn't a weight class and they say it's because there aren't enough people in the in competing and that's true.

But that's also because there isn't an actual a class for us to actually have people come complete compete. That is the most cop out. And honestly like you if anybody ever gives that answer. Like you are privileges funk. I'm sorry, not enough people are showing up like are you for real right now? That's the same thing they said about everything about black people being in sports about, you know, when they first made the rules for girls to compete in high school sports, there's not enough like no, like a positive feedback loop. Like we're not going to change anything because there's not enough people, but there's all these barriers in place that prevent people from being able to compete in the first place rinse and repeat exactly one of them. So, uh, one of the big strong man corporations told me that I need to stop complaining and I need to talk to promoters and get them to allow me to compete as a guest spot because I should feel excited. And then one of the promoters said, well why don't you and your disabled friends just create a keep.

And I'm like, what do you think I'm doing in my days? Like you just have adapted Strongman competitions in my backyard with all my 50 friends and also it's not your job here that we all just like hang out together. Yeah, It's literally their job. Like you have one job and you need to promote the sport where we're not still able to lift. So how am I supposed to promote this and get more people if we're not allowed to do it. But the only reason we're going to be allowed to do it is if we get enough people, but the people don't know it exists because it doesn't exist well. But also you're fighting tooth and nail to make sure that you know, our local, your local strong and meets even include an adaptive division. So luckily you found a few here in the bay area that are willing to do it. But not everybody is willing to do that. And think about all the other states in the US that are not willing to put up an adaptive division to begin with. How do we know that we exist? Because it's not promoted like from the inside.

And even in this new ruling, like meet directors are not required. So it's like what? So if we're making this category, that's kind of like a pencil it in lightly on your calendar and then, you know, if they don't want to do it, they don't have to like, what is that? So you still have to jump through that loop again. Well in the, what's the point of making a category and pretending to lay the groundwork didn't say anything. It's funny that you think that I found multiple ones here in the area and it's literally only static monsters? Just him. Yeah. Yeah. Just the one organization. Even even the local group was like, oh, we can accommodate you, but you're not an official category. So if we have a meat, we're not actually gonna have a category just for you. Mm hmm. Who said that? Can you, Can you say it's literally one place, yikes. Big Yike. Oh, Strongman court. Yeah. Like right off the bat. Yeah. I have no shame in. I have no problem in shaming them. Because they're the ones who actually told me, Well, you need to stop complaining.

Well, they're all pretty much on the same vibe. It's like, if you want this, you have to do it yourself. We're not gonna do anything. And they, and they can repackage that and reword that and whatever way sounds positive to them. But at the end of the day, that's what they're all saying. Like I'm not doing this work. If you want to sail people, then you run a show. But also, what is, that doesn't make sense. And what is that thing saying? Like, oh, get your promoter to get you on as a guest athlete. So you just put on a show for them. And then also you have fucking minstrels. Like, what is this? A circus? Yeah. Well, and then the guest promoter says, well, you're not an official category. And so we're not going to take on the liability. And I'm like literally everybody, every athlete that's ever lifted at a competition takes on their own liability. Well, it's not on the promoter or the organization. But somehow, if I was to lift it somehow on the, like, it could make the organization look bad, It's freaking stupid.

Everybody signs the same contract. Yeah, everybody, if anybody gets hurt or if anybody throws up on the platform pees on the platform, like we're all the same. I mean the same thing with me, like they brought in their U. S. A. P. L. Brought in their lawyers and said that I would be a liability by using that device on the platform, but now that they're creating in this adaptive um division, they're allowing it now so magically the danger is don't matter anymore, the danger is gone, wow. Well that's what they're the same thing happened when I tried to lift at the Arnold for a disabled strongman. Um one of the, one of the dudes said, well you're not the current kind of disabled, so we're not going to let you lift? Who? I literally didn't even see my medical file. He was just like, no. And then the other guy uh magnus decided that could be a problem. We just want you to live safely.

After literally seeing me live for three years, he's like, you just need to prove that you can lift safely and then blocked me on facebook. So it's like, well what do you guys want? Do you want us to be able to live safely or do you want us to be the correct kind of disabled or like what what hoops do we have to jump through because we're starting to feel like circus animals here, horrible hot mess express. Uh and in our final dumpster fire category, of course is the MX. Which is the dedicated competition space for any and all athletes, no matter how they identify. Yeah. I do have a question though, because there's something on it that's like they said the weight classes aligned with LGBT Powerlifting union, Does anybody know what that is? The union? Uh huh. Yeah. It's uh I believe it's a UK based like power lifting organization. And they hold uh like meets for um L. G. B. T. Q.

Folks and I believe that they have an MX category in there. And so uh the weight classes are from their weight classes for for the next category, but I think that's the only thing that really is taken from. I know how does that make it? Do you want to? I don't know, do they want a standing ovation for that? Like why? What's what's their reasoning for creating a separate weight class category? Because I'm looking at it. I mean it's a 44 or 48 52 but none of that's like, I don't know, it does seem like a little bit of a signaling like we we follow these protocols, but not like all of them were just cherry pick them. Yeah. I don't uh I don't know. You know, Again like tus for testosterone for transnational folks is still not allowed in U. S. A. P. L. So um trans men who have been on HN or non binary people who've been on HRT can't even be in the Mx category if they wanted to.

Additionally this doesn't even solve any of the issues that have been brought forth from the transplant because the correct answer would be to let folks compete in the categories that align with their gender. Yeah like and like I mentioned before uh trans women are women and trans men are men, so therefore they should be allowed to compete in those categories. Uh If you feel more comfortable competing in an Mx category, I think that that would be a great option if there are not all these hoops and uh barriers that make it more difficult for you to compete because this still is not inclusive, right? It's essentially a this is people compete here and you trans and non binary and gender nonconforming folks, you have this option but there's actually no way for you to compete higher than a state level and there's promises of that.

But it's like if someone wants to compete within their gender cat right? Like in the gender uh that they identify as and that they are they should do so uh following IOC rules or whatever is in place because that's what the I. P. F. Does. So I have no idea why they are so resistant, resistant and letting trans women and men compete in those categories. So it's like I've never seen an Mx category B. So gender un inclusive? I don't even know how to describe it. This is like taking the MX category and he's deciding that you get to make up all these rules when the whole point of the MX categories that it's essentially like open right? Like a true open category for anyone who feels confirmed in that affirm sorry, in that category. So essentially it's like there's levels to it. It's number one, it's just segregation, right?

Like it's just like this is a whites only fountain. This is the black silly fountain. Like it could be that simple. And also possibly they don't even understand the difference like trans non binary. Like maybe they don't even get it because even when you go on the F. A. Q. For the Mx category, it's like why is there a separate category for trans athletes that's on the F. A. Q. Like you guys are missing the point of what these words actually mean. So like like you said like they went to somebody's website or they talk to whoever it was at that um Powerlifting union and I don't know what they actually heard because what they're doing is nothing to do what's what's going on over there. The something I think that we should probably elaborate on because I know there's a lot of people who don't fully understand when it comes to the whole idea of testing and the whole idea of like especially because everybody comes back to the testosterone aspect, is there anything that they're talking about really other than testosterone and what would the threshold?

Because I mean like with something like Pcos are testosterone varies to maybe not to the same extent. But does that mean that people who have Pcos need to start lifting in these categories, if that's what you're going to call it? Because I also saw that they're talking about for both adaptive and the MX category. They're talking about drug testing type stuff and talking about what kind of medications were on. And some of the people that I know with adaptive problems have. We're on some pretty good drugs. And where are you guys going to start going into our history and looking at our heart medications? And are we going to start talking about like, muscle relaxers and blood doping? And every like did they don't think of sleep there? I mean when you get to older men, there are some of the guys are taking testosterone. Are we going to start really addressing all of these medical issues to or are we just using it as an excuse to start discrimination?

It's not even close. They're just going by the the therapeutic use exemptions where you could beg and plead for them to allow things. But there's still a list of things that are just flat out knows. Yeah, testosterone is is a flat out No. You know, Trt for uh six men who have lower testosterone levels That to know. Um So they're like, it's a historical precedent that not allowed to us for testosterone. So then therefore it also includes uh folks who need to take it are going through HRT and are medically transitioning. How does that make sense? Honestly, even right if we're talking about six assists folks who take testosterone, um it's a little bit a bliss and actually stabilized. Not even a little bit, but like it's like this assumption that right, people may be using it as a way to right chief or to get a boost or whatever.

And it's like there may be people who do that, you know, and that's that's the fact, that's a fact. But for people who are doing it because like there is a medical need for it. Um Just assuming that someone is getting this prescription to, you know, to get ahead or to dope or whatever is able ist and it's this mentality that you're going to be abusing something that for a lot of people is a life saving prescription and we can go on for other types of prescriptions. Um I think pregnant pregnant zones on that list. Like really who with a chronic not on predniSONE, like they hand that out like skittles like what's up all right here, predniSONE, like well, but I don't understand it. So you get all these people who are like, well obviously you're just going to have men lifting in the women's category and they're just going to take take medication so that they could get stronger and I'm like who is going to go through all of that work to lift in your stupid petty little organization?

Like seriously who are seriously? Well that's like it's so crazy because they I mean there are websites on websites, articles misch injuring current athletes right now who are trans non binary and gender non conforming. But like this whole idea that we need to save women's sports, save sports to protect blah blah and how we constantly have to reiterate that you know, trans girls, trans women are women and who of all the women in power lifting are fighting against, you know, including trans women in our sports. No, no one that I know of and how long have times it's white dudes. How long have trans folks been in the olympics? Like there's not a clean sweep like just pretty okay, calm down like but we're not nobody's out here taking all the number one spots in in anything in the olympics. And trans folks has been there for how long?

I think people really don't realize what it means at all to go through the medical transition at all. And it just open, you just want to say it just opens the door for dudes to be like well see we're just not equal and you know women just lift less than men and I'm like mhm No like they're like well you don't you don't see any of the women lifting those 1000 plus pounds like uh like thor is lifting and I was like I don't see you doing it either bro. Yeah, that's the measure, right? Some bullsh it don't make no sense. So if you I mean God imagine this is supposed to be. Hold on. I got to read the line that made me cringe. Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. This is supposed to be. And I quote more competition space for everyone, right? That's what they say. That's what usa pl says it's going to be a greater to the white dudes. Uh It's going to be a true microcosm of our great country and even through our differences, we remain family.

It is what makes the sport powerlifting so great mitch if I was trans and disabled, where would I go? I think I just threw up in my mouth. Imagine I'm a trans woman. Where do where do I go? I want to compete in the open. I gotta hook where do I go? None of that represented me as a person like what? Just like the fact that trans men are just not allowed to compete at all. Just like been on HRT on HRT. Uh Because some some people choose not to go on HRT and that's fine and that's the like that's the way that they best present themselves in the world and um a lot of folks though right? They are on HRT. And so that's fairly limiting. And essentially because U. S. A. P. L. Is like one of the largest federations, it may totally be possible that it's one of the few organizations that are in your area, right? So then it comes to if you are just getting into power lifting uh It offers a lot of it may be very overwhelming to think about like well if I wanted to compete, like what does this mean for me?

And the reality is that no one should have to worry about like what medication they're on in order to compete. Because if it's prescribed uh then obviously like you're visiting, you're doing blood work, you're doing tests like you're working with with medical professionals who uh are indicating that it's safe for you to do that. And it's providing a way to relieve gender dysphoria and all these issues. And just to have these kinds of rules set out to say, well sure you can be trans but only if you follow these guidelines. Like the whole point is that there are no guidelines being transgender nonconforming. You're not very don't make no sense. Don't it doesn't to me it just oh sorry. But like when I read these, I I truly don't think that there were folks who understand trans inclusion in sports who uh we're at the table.

I know that J. C. Cooper and branded and he is from a pull for pride and the women's strength coalition have worked to develop uh trans inclusive policies for us a pl and they have not been implemented right? Yeah Chris Sandra who was like, I'll write these rules right? Like these rules can be written out to be affirming, but instead it's like we are telling you what is what is best for our organization. Uh and it doesn't include you. It's you know, flat out, that's what's happening. Let me see these rules the way that they're unrolling it is pretty obvious to write like this is supposed to be the microcosm of our great country. But yet there's no forum for these things. There's no you know, I mean maybe we haven't turned off comments to turn off common. They're both well maybe we need to find someone that's actually a member. I don't know. Maybe there was a member only shits going on behind the scene.

I wouldn't know. I haven't been a member in ages as far as publicly nothing from day one. What I've been trying to figure out is why did they release these? Especially these two big the gender and the adaptive together because no matter what we do, our attention is going to be divided. So there's no way that both of these like both of our arguments are going to get the full attention that it needs because we're having to divide our attention between these two huge things and they just kind of threw them both together so that neither of them gets the full argument and the full attention that they actually need. They're like, here's both of them now. You decide which one is more important to argue against and which one's more important that we need to change. So it's important that we get folks who are from the adaptive athletes camp and the trans and non binary gender nonconforming camp as well as people. Maybe there are folks who want to be involved too right?

And have the intersecting identities and um people with experience and inclusion, both right and the adaptive and trans uh inclusion in sports to come together and build these policies, right? Because uh at least to me, I'm hopeful that if we have more people at the table with these intersecting identities and the experience to push forward for more inclusive policies, we could definitely tackle both of them. But I agree. I think that right there because there's so many issues wrong is very over. Yeah, like so many issues with these categories. Like where do we even start? And I feel like they did that on purpose. They did that so that our attention is divided. Which one do we address first? I'm gonna say the flip side, they did it on purpose because they care so little about it. Like I don't even never amount of thought that you just put into It was at least entirely too long. Like it was just like just like that. It will make them happy. Fun them anyway. So but the wrong with wraps is what we're happy about.

All right. Great release. Yeah. It's probably wraps correct. It's literally it's just one. I'm telling you. I'm telling you this is how it went down. Right? Somebody was like yo chad we need some new categories. Are members. And they were like all right Brett say less. I'm gonna go uh World power paralympics. What can I copy? Got a category? Great. Great. Great. Great. Great. What does everybody like about U. S. A. P. A. Wild perhaps copy that got two more? What else can I do? Okay Carrie come over here. What have you got there losing too much money last year? They lost. That's all it came. Like everything that they've doing is copied somebody else. And poorly it's like a school project that's like the shittiest poster in the corner. It's Wikipedia project. It's a Wikipedia project. Like they didn't even cut out like the link and the pictures when they printed it out that bad.

Like one of the things is like I O. Psychology exists. Market research exists. It's literally you could do this with a survey. They don't care. I mean okay bottom line. You know, they're doing this on a legal standpoint, right? I mean I already had lawyers sending memorandums as to their office and the reason why we can't file a full lawsuit ship. I've been thinking of a class action lawsuit for a long time. All adaptive, all you know, gender nonconforming non binary athletes to sue their asses. But now that they've created this more inclusive, quote unquote inclusive category, They're not they're creating more like quote. Like, I don't know. It's just it's a little more accessible but it's not equitable and that. And I also yeah, they're also going to be able to say, well, see we gave you these categories and you're still not happy. Yeah. Right. But it's it's also like, okay, we're letting you play on paper, but you're gonna sit in the fucking corner and not get any medals or trophies or you know, they're not going to get shipped from it.

We're inclusive. But not really. It's like all the companies that make, you know, after the me Too movement of people that like up their sexual harassment policies, right? Or like after june and George Floyd. Everybody's like, we got D. I. Committees now, but like on paper, those things sound great. But like honestly half of that ship means nothing. Right? Well, exactly. Yeah. one of the non profits that we make it work for. I was like, we have a huge uh huge diversity and inclusion group. And we meet all the time when we discuss policies within our organization. And I was like, oh, I would love to be a part of that. You know, I'm mexican by and um disabled. They're like, oh we don't need you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sounds about right. There's one for um, so the physical therapy association started that up, right? D. I. Everything. Um, and somebody approached me was like, oh, where the adaptive athlete like club within the physical therapy association?

Do you want to be R. D. I. Chan? I'm like, yeah, cool. What do I have to do? They're like, oh, you just got to get to membership. Uh, you know, it's just a measly $550. Hey guys, do you guys have sliding scales, scholarships? No, but we'll think about it. Mm. We just want you as our token, but you gotta be able to afford, but you have to pay, you have to pay to be here to do this volunteer position though. Volunteer position. Yeah. I have to pay for a membership to be able to take that volunteer position. Like, like on paper it sounds great. Diversity and equity. Yeah. Committees. Yeah. We meet, but like a black person can't even get on the committee. Like what are you doing? Damn. Oh man. I think the moral of the story is, uh, what Kris Sanda said they don't give a ship. There's throwing it. Right. What mary beth said this is a great on paper. Cover your ask for lawsuits thing and uh, like Val said we could do better. It's, we're out here like it's not that hard.

I think that's the too long. Didn't listen version. Seriously. They just ask us. Just ask where he asked. We got it. We're ready to go. We're Volunteering. We got the power paying $600 membership. Some bullshit. Huh? Okay. Well, um mm That's I think that'll do I don't know you guys have any other other other um, takes I mean, we're really ending on a positive note here. I gotta draw a bath and drinking glasses. I'm sticking to my New Year's resolution, which is the same every year. Stay petty. So we're just great. We're doing great. This aligns with mike. This is aligning with me. This is great. I mean, okay, we were laughing about it. People who are listening are probably cringing and feeling bad for us because this is just this is what we have to deal with on a daily fucking basis. And we're just luckily we're adults kind of and are kind of used to this ship. But let's let's check in a little bit Is everybody doing okay?

I don't want to. And this episode on a more depressive note than these categories already are. I feel like it's everybody doing okay. Isn't even more depressive. No. You know, that's probably worse. I'm going to say that. It is it is very you know what? Here we go. That's another obsession with a binary. I can be upset about this and excited about eating pancakes later. Right? You both? It's not either or I'm not angry all day long. So I'm angry all day long. Okay. Well percent I tried to save you son in law and there's no saving me. I have some pancakes. No, but I mean, honestly, like when these things pop up, there are, especially we're already stressed about covid real ship. Right? Like it's, I just turned off, that's, that's, that's what I'm doing. Just turn it off. Just unplugging. Just logging out, closing instagram, uninstalling this in that app. And when I need to because sometimes it is love and for the people who think that we're laughing, we're not laughing.

Like we're only laughing because we have to, there's nothing else we can do about it right now and it's we're not being performative and we're not laughing in a way. It's our hands are tight. And what else are you gonna do? Sit here and cry about it or continue to raise voices and try and move forward as lightly as we can without it really affecting our day to day. And it's exhausting y'all. Like we fought to the nail for little ship, like being able to compete and sometimes we got to take a whole year or two off of fighting because it's just, it's so hard or compete with the Federation. That's truly inclusive and listens to you for the time being, but we are we are still fighting. I'm not, I'm not going to quit on this. Mm. Neither should you. And I really appreciate all the you know, advocates, all the allies that are reaching out to us. Um, you know, the minute that it hit and just these conversations that we're having with the other categories, because we do need to get together, we are the biggest freaking minority in the world well and they're forcing us to get together that I think that was their biggest mistake is releasing everything together.

Now. They have completely forced us to bind together and that was probably a huge mistake on their part because together we are fucking amazing, definitely hard agree disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some off. Don't forget to subscribe, rate already, review of our channel. We're on apple podcasts, Spotify player, FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who lift hi mm

E41: USAPL, Are You Even Listening?
E41: USAPL, Are You Even Listening?
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