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HomeWorld NewsCanadian Women Powerlifters Frustrated by Losses to Transgender Competitors with Great Strength

Canadian Women Powerlifters Frustrated by Losses to Transgender Competitors with Great Strength

When powerlifter and first-time competitor Kristine Bayntun participated in the 2019 British Columbia Powerlifting Association Fall Classic, she was shocked to discover that she had lost first place to a competitor who was born male. Standing on the podium, Ms. Bayntun described the moment when a “big hulking individual with a deep male voice” came to stand beside her, leaving her disheartened. She suspected that the person who beat her was either using steroids or was not actually a woman. Ms. Bayntun, who deliberately joined a different competition category to avoid competing against transgender athletes born male, expressed her concerns about the lack of fairness in powerlifting against someone with male physiological advantages. She highlighted the thorough equipment checks and regulations in powerlifting to ensure a level playing field but criticized the rules that allow individuals born male to compete against women. Ms. Bayntun wrote a letter to the Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) questioning the fairness of competing against athletes who have experienced male puberty, but the CPU decided to continue with its current inclusion model. Another weightlifter named Julianne, who faced a similar situation and backlash after competing against a transgender athlete born male, eventually quit competition due to the unfairness she experienced. In response to these concerns and incidents, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) introduced a new policy that includes mandatory requirements and conditions for transgender athletes. The policy states that no athlete should have an unfair advantage and acknowledges the significant effects of testosterone levels on performance in powerlifting. April Hutchinson, a record-breaking Canadian powerlifter, supports the IPF’s new policy, considering it a step in the right direction, although she believes more needs to be done. Ms. Hutchinson has been speaking out in defense of women’s sports and claims that her advocacy has taken a toll on her mental health. She alleges that the CPU has threatened to suspend her from Team Canada and has faced bullying from the organization. Despite these challenges, she remains committed to fighting for women-only sports and believes that more women need to speak out against the inclusion of biological males in women’s categories.

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