After speaking out against the World Surf League’s (WSL) rules restricting transgender women’s participation in competitions, Bethany Hamilton received online support from other athletes.
Saturday, Hamilton stated in an Instagram video that she would no longer compete in WSL tournaments if the restriction remained. In order to compete in the women’s division, the WSL requires transgender female athletes to maintain a testosterone level of 5 nmol/L for at least one year.
In her video, Hamilton stated that she would want the WSL to establish a new division.
“I believe that the best solution would be to create a separate division so that everyone has an equal opportunity to showcase their passion and talent,” she added. “It’s hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will look like in 15 to 20 years if we allow this major change to occur.”
After posing inquiries, Hamilton obtained online support.
In the Instagram comments portion of her video, Olympic gold medalist skier Julia Mancuso and NCAA All-American swimmer Riley Gaines offered their support for Hamilton.
“I support you, Bethany,” wrote Mancuso. “Thank you for advocating for all women and girls in the world. These are all intriguing questions for navigating this challenging subject; let’s hope we can continue to fight for the future of women’s sports.”
Gaines added: “THANK YOU for sharing this on your platform. I cannot adequately describe how inspiring this is.”
Shane Dorian, a former competition surfing champion, added his name to those who back Hamilton.
“Tell the truth! “I appreciate your courage in standing up for your beliefs,” he responded. “Don’t listen to those who label as transphobic anyone whose opinions don’t precisely coincide with their own. These are complex issues with no obvious answer. Regardless, there are other transgender community supporters who agree with you on these topics.”
In her comments, Hamilton elaborated on her earlier points.
She stated, “I was messaging with a friend who is part of the (LGBTQ) community, and I do not believe there is a solution that will please everyone at this time.” “Different worldviews are a natural aspect of life. I may not have the ideal response. But I do feel the way I do and will continue to stay solid in what I expressed here.
“I mentioned Testosterone because that is how the Olympics and World Surf League determine if a competitor is eligible to compete as a woman.”
Friday, WSL Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer told The Inertia that the league’s decision was unanimous.
“The WSL is working hard to balance equity and fairness and it’s important for a policy to be in place,” Miley-Dyer added. “We acknowledge that the policy may need to change as we receive feedback and discover new research in the field.”
Maureen Mackey of Fox News contributed to this article.
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