A transgender woman has been stripped of her world titles after the weightlifting governing body in the US ruled that, at the time, she was ‘still a man’.
Mary Gregory, from Virginia, had set records in the women’s squat, bench press, and deadlift categories, earning her a ‘Masters total world record’ for her powerlifting scores last month.
However, the sport’s governing body – RAW Powerlifting Federation – has taken the titles off Mary, saying she ‘was actually a male’ while she was competing.
In a statement, Federation president Paul Bossi said, via MailOnline:
It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a Transgender female.
Our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification.
On the basis of all information presented to the Board of Directors for this particular case, the conclusion made, is that the correct physiological classification is male.
According to the federation’s rulings, because Gregory could not, at the time, be classified as ‘female’, she didn’t break any world records.
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What a day, 9 for 9! Masters world squat record, open world bench record, masters world dl record, and masters world total record! Still processing, full meet recap to come a bit later but I do want to thank a few people!💜 – From our initial consultation I told @savvysavit that I wanted to cut to the 82.5kg class, go 9 for 9, and set some records- we did it!!! I don't think she was happy with me cutting but she was there offering her support. When I needed a pick me up or advice she was there! Thank you coach!💜 – 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! And thanks to all the fans in the audience who cheered me on and congratulated me!💜 – Thank @rrrrachele for making the trip out to support me today, video my lifts, and cheer me on!💜 – And thank you to all the peeps on Instagram who reached out to offer your support!💜 – Now for 🍷 and 🍕!!! – #transgenderwoman#sharetheplatform#transrightsarehumanrights#lgbtq#bemoreawesome#upliftandliftheavy#morefemalestrength#richmondbalance#liftlunchlearnrva#squat#bench#deadlift
Speaking about and the testing she was made to undergo by the federation, and the day she broke the records, Mary told Outsports:
I shook the director’s hand and I told him, ‘I want to thank you, because as a transgender lifter, I was unsure of the reaction I was going to get here, and you and your staff have gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome. And I really appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. It means the world to me.’ And I told him that to his face.
However, when it later came time for drug testing, officials told Mary they needed a urine sample.
I said, ‘Well, this is kind of embarrassing for me, because I don’t have the correct anatomy.’ Still, I did my business while somebody watched me sitting on the toilet. And so that’s where that statement comes from, because I’m sure she told them, ‘Hey! This girl’s got a penis!’
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Yay, it's Friday!!! I didn't pass out today!!! And I misloaded the bar, lol. – Was actually very anxious going into these pulls. Despite my attempts to blow it off passing out at 55lbs below your PR pull is NOT cool! I actually released my valsava at the top today and viola, no passing out! Took a quick breath and reset as tight as could for the trip down. Will have to work on this next training block, imo releasing tension/ valsava mid rep isn't not optimal but it worked! – The cherry on top is I meant to load 177.5kg and actually loaded 182ish! My confidence really needed this today! @savvysavit @richmondbalance804 #transrightsarehumanrights🌈#sharetheplatform#powerliftingwomen#sumoischeating#exodusstrength#upliftandliftheavy
When asked whether she would undergo surgery to remove her male genitalia, Mary added:
Perfect world, under perfect situations, probably, yes, I would have the surgery, because I’m not that attached to that part of my anatomy. It doesn’t define who I am, but I don’t hate it. I don’t need it to be gone to be able to live my life and be whole. It’s more of a case that it’s inconvenient that it’s there.”
Mary had been on hormone blockers for 11 months before she competed in the championships.
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To all the mom's out there Happy Mother's Day! Squats felt good, third rep of top set felt the best. When I squat I tend to shift the weight forward on to my toes a bit. So I have using big toe, sit back, and drive with the hips for my cues. What cues do you use? Let me know! – Bw-181.6lbs Low bar Squats, +5lbs from last week 225×6, 237.5×6, 250×[email protected], 225×6 Comp bench, +5lbs from last week 170×6, 180×6, 190×[email protected], 170×6 CG Bench, +2.5lbs from last week 145×8, 155×8, 165×[email protected], 165×8 – #transathlete#sharetheplatform#hereonpurpose#exodusstrength#richmondbalance#powerliftingwomen#girlswhopowerlift#morefemalestrength#sportisahumanright#upliftandliftheavy
While some sporting bodies have ruled that transgender athletes on hormone blockers can compete, USA Powerlifting passed a policy last week which banned transitioning athletes from competing against athletes that match their ‘gender identity’.
The board said this is because: ‘Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women.’
These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While MTF (male to female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than of a female.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.