On Sunday, Mary Gregory – a transgender athlete who was born biologically male but identifies as female – demolished four women’s Masters powerlifting world records. Along with shattering the women’s bench press, deadlift, and squat records, she also secured a Masters world total record. While some celebrated her performance, others believe it showed that trans athletes shouldn’t compete in women’s sports.
“What a day, 9 for 9! Masters world squat record, open world bench record, masters world dl record, and masters world total record!” said Gregory in a post on Instagram.
“A huge thank you to [RAW Powerlifting Federation], from the bottom of my heart! As a transgender lifter I was unsure what to expect going into this meet and everyone – all the spotters, loaders, referees, staff, meet director, all made me welcome and treated me as just another female lifter- thank you!” the transgender athlete added. “And thanks to all the fans in the audience who cheered me on and congratulated me!”
This isn’t the first example of transgender athletes overtaking biologically female athletes. In February, Selina Soule, a high school student in Connecticut, discussed trans athletes in women’s sports during an interview on The Ingraham Angle. Two transgender sprinters – both born biologically male – had effectively prevented Soule from having a chance to compete in front of coaches from various colleges, according to a report by the Daily Wire.
“I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” said Soule. “But, in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females.
“It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male, who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy, against cis-gender girls,” she added.
Martina Navratilova, a legend in the tennis world and an openly gay advocate for LGBT rights, has also discussed the issue.
“Letting men compete as women simply if they change their name and take hormones is unfair — no matter how those athletes may throw their weight around,” said Navratilova.
“It’s insane and it’s cheating,” she continued. “I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”
After Navratilova’s comments were subject to a backlash, Sharron Davies, an Olympic medalist, expressed her concerns in a tweet.
“I have nothing against anyone who wishes 2be transgender. However I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex u r born with & the gender u may identify as. To protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able 2compete in women’s sport,” she wrote.
Davies also chimed in on Gregory’s performance, stating, “This is a trans woman a male body with male physiology setting a world record & winning a woman’s event in America in powerlifting. A woman with female biology cannot compete.. it’s a pointless unfair playing field.”
Comments on Gregory’s Instagram post were mixed. While some offered their congratulations, others labeled Gregory a “cheat.”