Amelia Gapin is a Brooklyn-based athlete who made the decision to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, and she’s featured on the cover of Women’s Running magazine.
Gapin spoke with Savita Iyer in Women’s Running “Body Issue” about her love of running and Lululemon shorts. Much of the interview is focused on Gapin’s training regimen, but when asked what she wants readers to know about her, she says:
I think a lot of times people get pigeonholed into being just one thing, especially when they’re a vocal advocate for that thing. But I’m more than just a trans person. I’m an engineer, a startup co-founder, a wife, a nerd, a feminist and a thousand other things too.
Though Gapin ultimately made the choice to undergo surgery because “my big goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I can’t qualify for it as a woman without having surgery,” she also previously wrote for Run Haven about the costs that transgender people pay, emotionally and economically, if they want to fulfill requirements that allow them to register for a marathon under their gender identity:
The requirement for bottom surgery presents two major issues. The first is that not all trans people even want surgery — many do not. The second issue is that a surgical requirement is little more than a transgender tax. While the hormones our bodies run on tend to have a huge effect on strength, genitals are just along for the ride again, science and medicine back this up. However, gender-confirming surgeries are extremely expensive and rarely covered by insurance. For the vast majority of trans athletes, following USATF’s rules means a cost starting at $20,000 on the low end. And regardless of how surgery is paid for, there are only around a dozen doctors in the U.S. who will even perform these surgeries, meaning there are long waitlists for surgery. According to current statistics, less than 1 in 5 trans women have had gender-confirming surgeries, and even fewer trans men have.
There is controversy over whether transgender women should be allowed to place when competing against cis women in athletics, though as Gapin points out, after years of hormone treatments most transgender people’s bodies have changed significantly, whether or not they go through an expensive and difficult surgery.
Image via Women’s Running.