A petition on Change.org is trying to get the International Olympic Committee to "do the right thing for the transgender community" and revoke Caitlyn Jenner's gold medal.
Jenner at the 1976 Olympics and on the cover of Vanity Fair. Not pictured: The jerkbutt trying to take Jenner's olympic medal away. (via Getty Images/Vanity Fair)
When she was living as Bruce, Caitlyn Jenner won the gold medal for the men's decathlon, a combination of 10 track and field events including different-length runs, javelin, long jump, and shot put, among other things. But after Jenner's recent revalation that she has always identified as a woman, someone named Jennifer Bradford started a petition on Change.org to have Jenner's medals rescinded. The petition reads:
Dear International Olympic Committee,
It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men's sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her olympic records in light of this, as we must now either claim that Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people (which we know is not true), or that Bruce Jenner was, in fact, a woman participating in a men's event. It is only fair to all involved that women receive their credit as champions of the Decathalon and that the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself.
We urge Ms. Jenner to support the transgender community by giving up the medals earned by competing against the wrong gender.
Thank you, and congratulations to Ms. Jenner for her courage!
When Caitlyn won her gold medals, she was living physically as Bruce, with a man's body and a man's hormones, even if she knew that inside she was a woman. The medals are hers. Oh, and what the heck is this supposed to mean?
"...the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself."
As far as I can tell, Bradford is implying that because Jenner identified as a woman at the time she won the gold medal, she was a "superior" being to the men. But the top-ranking men pretty much universally beat the top-ranking women in every decathlon category — for example, in the 100 meter run, all of the top-ranking men are almost a second faster than the top-ranking women (that doesn't sound like a lot, but it is for the 100-meter run). So even if Jenner was physically living as a woman at the time — which she wasn't — that would have put her at a disadvantage, not an advantage.
Two days after the petition was posted, Bradford added this comment:
I'm so happy to announce that we've had over 50 signers already! Let's keep it up and convince the IOC and Ms. Jenner to do the right thing for the transgender community and get rid of those medals!
I don't know whether the creator of the petition is transgender or not, and I am not transgender, so it's certainly not my place to say what's right for the community. I also don't know if this petition is a joke or not. But if it is a joke, it's a pretty crappy one. And if it's serious, trying to take this accomplishment away from Caitlyn just doesn't seem like a good thing.