Hers – Two Steps Forward and Five Steps Back: Thanks Joe Rogan

The UFC does not have a reputation as a progressive organization. Since I began telling people that I follow the sport, a lot of the first reactions I hear are along these lines:

“UFC? Uh, yeah, I guess that’s cool. Does that mean you hang out with those douchebags in Tapout shirts?”

It is a reputation that, I am sad to say, many fans in the sport have earned. With any sport, there’s always one drunk asshole in the bar, ruining it for his fellow sports fans. In MMA, it seems like there are often two or three. That’s not surprising – fighting is a sport that can attract folks where testosterone runs high.

At times, unnaturally high… (image via UFC.com)

And it is exactly that hormone that led the UFC into what is, in my opinion, it’s most bigoted and unfortunate moment since Dana White decided to announce women were not welcome in the UFC to TMZ. And this was much worse.

Because I want to be fair, I want to briefly say that, I understand where Joe Rogan is coming from. I first knowingly met a transgendered person in high school, in my gender studies class (I grew up near San Francisco – can you tell?). She was very sweet, and very brave to walk into a class full of callous little brats like us. Especially because she had transitioned late in life. And I’ll be honest – she looked male. It was a big disconnect for my 16 year old mind. I had been raised to be tolerant, but this person simply looked wrong to me. The class was mostly respectful, but for years my friends knew that I found transgender transitions a bit offputting.

I sincerely doubt that Joe Rogan was raised to be tolerant. I doubt he was drilled, from an early age, that gay, straight, male, female, black, white or purple, all people deserve to be treated the same.

Purple people need protection! I hear they are often in danger of being eaten. (image via photobucket)

That said, Joe Rogan is not a teenager. He, and every other human alive, should educate himself before he runs his mouth. And unfortunately, like my teenage self, Joe Rogan is under-educated. If you want to read a brilliant break down of why Joe Rogan is scientifically out of the loop, you can see Cage Potato and Bleacher Report. Cage Potato in particular does a nice job of mentioning that Rogan’s view on women also probably needs a little adjusting.

For me, the bottom line is that the Olympic commission allows transgendered athletes to compete. If Joe thinks he knows more about this topic based on his argument on bone density and whether or not Fallon has male genitalia than people whose entire jobs are to evaluate athletes for the highest level of sporting competition on the world stage, he should keep on talking. But eventually Joe, Dana, and at least a few Tapout Douches are going to have the shut their mouths and listen. Listen to scientists, who can explain to you how the transition works. How strength is based on the hormones in your body, not on how the doctor called out your gender when you were born. If fighters like Miesha Tate (who I used to be a fan of) want to talk about how they don’t feel “safe” fighting Fallon, I start to wonder who the heck they train with. If Miesha’s been waiting around for a huge group of women MMA fighters to train against, no wonder she can’t make it out of one round with Rousey. And yes, I understand that training is different than fighting in the ring. But mistakes are made, and if you’re that scared of slightly denser bones, maybe this isn’t the sport for you.

And then, of course, we have Cyborg, who now says that Fallon shouldn’t be able to fight women, but no biggie, she’ll take the fight anyway. This announcement, I presume, followed the “all press is good press” theory that she and Tito Ortiz seem so in love with.

It works for Dennis Rodman, right? (image via ficklefame.com)

What I don’t understand is this – do you guys seriously not know any super tough women? Have you not met any super scrawny dudes? Do you really believe that all men are born so much stronger than all women that every man, no matter how weak, could beat up any woman based on the amazing power of bone density? How do you understand that TRT makes men artificially strong, but not understand that hormone treatments for gender reassignment also affect strength?

And do you believe that you have the right to tell Fallon Fox what gender she is? Because at the end of the day, when you strip away the ignorance, the undereducation, the instinctual revulsion, that is what really made me step back and rethink Joe Rogan as a human being. I understand that he was speaking off the cuff. But when you think you have the right to tell someone who has lived in their own head, in their own body, in their own life, and chosen to go through something as difficult, expensive, and societally unaccepted as gender reassignment surgery and say “You’re a fucking man,” you are using your platform to try to assert your control over someone else’s life. Who do you think you are?

I know for a fact that Joe, and the UFC, lost at least one great fan over all this. And if it keeps up, they will lose more. Because just like those who are against gay marriage, the tide of history is against them.

Just a few weeks ago, I was so happy to see this sport include women, include a lesbian, and start to pull their heads, ever so slightly, out of the ginormous ass in which I sometimes feel my fellow fans love so bury themselves in so often. But this is a huge setback, and it cannot stand. Joe cried and moaned on twitter about how we’re all too politically correct. I hope he has the opportunity to meet more people in the trans community, and educate himself on their history. Because in that history, from my perspective, his words were more than just words. They are at best an incitement to discrimination, and at worst an incitement to violence.

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