After speaking out against the World Surf League’s (WSL) rules governing transgender women partaking in events, surfer Bethany Hamilton received some online support from fellow competitors.
During a video she shared on Instagram on Saturday, Hamilton said that she would be skipping WSL events if the rule was not changed. According to the WSL, transgender female athletes must keep their testosterone level at 5 nmol/L for at least a year before they are allowed to compete in the women’s division.
In her video, Hamilton stated that she would want to see WSL form a separate league.
“I support you Bethany,” Mancuso wrote. “Thanks for speaking up for all women and girls out there. Those are all interesting questions to navigate this difficult topic and let’s hope we can keep fighting for the future of womens sports.”
“THANK YOU for using your platform to share this. I can’t express how inspiring this is.”
Hamilton gained some internet backing after raising doubts.
On Instagram, both Olympic gold medalist skier Julia Mancuso and NCAA All-American swimmer Riley Gaines commented their support for Hamilton.
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One other person who backs Hamilton is former surfing champion, Shane Dorian.
“Speak your truth! Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe,” he wrote. “Don’t listen to people who hurl the word transphobic at anyone who’s beliefs don’t align perfectly with theirs. These are complicated problems with no clear solution. Regardless, there many people who love and support the trans community who agree with you on these issues.”
Hamilton elaborated in the remarks to further explain her stance.
“I was messaging with a friend who is a part of the (LGBTQ) community and I really don’t think at this point there is a solution that will please everyone,” she wrote. “There are different world views and that is part of life. I may not have the perfect answer. But I do feel the way I do and will continue to stand firm in what I shared here.
“I mentioned Testosterone because that is how the Olympics and World Surf League decide if you can compete as a women.”
The decision reached by the league was unanimous, WSL Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer told The Inertia on Friday.
“The WSL is working hard to balance equity and fairness and it’s important for a policy to be in place,” Miley-Dyer said. “We recognize that the policy may need to evolve over time as we get feedback and see new research in the field.”
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