The ordeal of a young trans woman to play basketball after the Spanish Federation prevented her registration

A host of loopholes and legal contradictions have prevented Kendall Martina basketball player of the CEEB Tordera Uni Gironaplay with their teammates the phase of rise to Women’s League 2 after winning the Catalunya Cup.

It was a decision of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB), which did not validate Martin’s enrollment for being transgender. A condition that has not made it impossible for him, on the other hand, to play the matches of the regional competition, governed by the Catalan Basketball Federation.

“Kendall arrived at the club last summer. The season hadn’t started yet. Some colleagues from another club told me about her and I saw that she had the level to play with us,” he explains. Mark Delemuscoach of CEEB Tordera Uni Girona, in a telephone conversation with Public.

“It had been years since I played basketball, precisely because I was in the transition process, which began with 15 years. He had all the documentation in order, although we contacted social services to see if, indeed, everything was correct, that’s when we started all the procedures for him to join the team”, he details. “I started the season with great enthusiasm , until then he still had not been able to play any game. When they told me I could compete, I couldn’t believe it,” Kendall explains in statements to Public.

Kendall played the first two games of the regional competition normally, until someone saw that in the sex section of her DNI put M (male) and not F (female). The Catalan regulations, which are based on the Catalan Sports Law, say that the DNI must state that she is a girl.

“At the time of registration, no one noticed this error. Automatically, the Catalan Federation unilaterally suspended his license while waiting for him to prove his gender on the DNI,” says Delemus. “The federation’s decision was a very painful blow. They put the candy in my mouth and then they took it away,” laments the player.

This process -which the new trans law has expedited- was not immediate, leaving Kendall on the bench during the first round. When he regularized his documentation, the Catalan Federation re-approved your licensewhich allowed him to play the second round.

It is first hurdle It was already a disaster for Kendall. Despite the fact that the Catalan Federation let her play again, the young woman already distrusted everything and she feared that they would leave her out of the competition again. “Every time there was a meeting with the board or the coach came to talk to me, I would get tense because I thought that at any moment they would tell me that I couldn’t play,” she explains. And the truth is that he calvary it didn’t end here. Proclaiming Copa Catalunya champions allowed them to play the ascent phase.

“FIBA recommends, but does not oblige, federations to refrain from involving people from this group”

The surprise came when the Spanish Federation (FEB) did not validate Kendall’s registration on the recommendation of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Delemus insists on the word “recommendation”, the key to everything.

The FEB is not governed by any rule when making this decision, but by a recommendation. FIBA recommends, but does not oblige, federations to refrain from involving people from this group,” he details.

A legal vacuum that lengthens in time

There is a legal vacuum. That is why the club has spoken with a law firm, because they think that the situation does not conform to the law.

The Spanish Federation still does not have a specific or clear regulation for cases like Kendall’s, that is why the FIBA ​​one applies, which does not prohibit registering a trans person in a competition, it simply recommends not to federate.

“I want to remind you that a resolution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) leaves the fact that they can process a registration in these cases to the opinion of each federation. Therefore, the FEB has made this decision and can take another one,” says Delemus.

“The Spanish Federation is cutting the rights and freedoms of the people in this group,” says the coach, who believes it is very unfair. “I plan to go all the way, and not just for me, but for all trans people who are in the same situation as me,” says Kendall.

“The Spanish federation is cutting the rights and freedoms of the people of this group”

Not being able to play the matches means not being able to participate in the meetings prior to going out on the court, not being able to be on the bench with your teammates, not being able to wear the club’s kit…

Kendall has 18 years and plays basketball since he was six. “She is a girl with a very special sensitivity and she has had a very bad time. She also It has been a very tough year for the team.who has supported him at all times and who has empathized with his situation”, explains the coach.

“In some party they have heard proclamations like we have to win for herand that is priceless,” he adds.

“When we played at home, she came to watch the games, but from the stands. This is not fair. She has earned the same right as her peers to play. She has shown it in training. She is also a Catalan champion,” laments Delemus.

Despite the difficulties, Kendall believes that it has been worth it not to stop fighting. “I knew that it was not going to be so easy, that setbacks would arise. We live in a society that is not as open as it seems. And what has happened to me is one more example of this,” she proclaims.

The club is moving against the grain so that Kendall can compete with her teammates, but she doesn’t have much hope. “The latest news I have is that the Catalan Federation will put in its statutes that in competitions that have access to FEB, such as the new Catalan Super Cup, transgender people will not be able to participate”.

“She just wants to play basketball, with boys she can’t and with girls they don’t allow her. What does she have to do? Doesn’t she have the right to access a sport, be it collective or individual? Is winning so important? Isn’t it the sport a tool for social reintegration? So why aren’t transgender people allowed to be part of a team and compete?” he asks indignantly.

“This will be approved in the next assembly. We will have to go through the ordinary route, we will not be able to advance much more through sports,” the coach has qualified.

“She just wants to play basketball, with boys she can’t and with girls they don’t allow her”

“Kendall will be a good player, but she’s still learning,” explains Delemus, who at the same time understands that you want to regulate this type of situation because there may be some extraordinary case that could alter the competition, “but Kendall does not alter anything at all“.

2023-06-10 05:01:21
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