Male-to-female transgender powerlifter Mary Gregory has been stripped of several women's championship titles after the Powerlifting Federation determined that Gregory was not eligible to compete as a female.
The Daily Wire's Amanda Prestigiacomo reported back in April that Gregory set world records in the women's squat, bench press, and deadlift, and had earned a "Masters total world record" for her powerlifting scores across the board.
"What a day, 9 for 9! Masters world squat record, open world bench record, masters world dl record, and masters world total record!" Gregory posted to Instagram at the time.
"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 athlete continued. "And thanks to all the fans in the audience who cheered me on and congratulated me!"
But on Friday, the same 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation announced that Gregory would be stripped of her currently held titles because, it seems, the board does not consider Gregory sufficiently female, Hot Air reports.
“It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a Transgender female,” Federation president Paul Bossi said in a statement to media. "“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," Bossi continued, "the conclusion made, is that the correct physiological classification is male.”
The Federation added that because Gregory could not be officially classified as "female," Gregory didn't technically break any world records.
Although it's not clear the Federation had set out the rules on gender identity before Gregory was allowed to compete, it appears they are now saying that, while Gregory may identify as female, technically Gregory is still, biologically, a male. They confirmed their suspicions by requesting a copy of Gregory's birth certificate and demanding the athlete provide a urine sample while supervised by a Federation official, according to Pink News.
Gregory had been taking estrogen and testosterone blockers for 11 months before competing for the world title, but has not transitioned genders surgically — but not all athletic associations require transgender athletes to present themselves as being biologically identical to other competing athletes. The International Olympic Committee, for example, judges the gender of an athlete by hormone levels, meaning Gregory could likely compete on the Olympic stage.
Both the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation and USA Powerlifting are reviewing their policies on the issue. In a vote held late last week, USA Powerlifting passed a policy banning transitioning athletes from competing against athletes that match their "gender identity" by a vote of 46-5. The board explained the policy by referencing the specific advantage that male athletes (even those transitioning to female) hold over biological females.
“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women," the board wrote. "These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While MTF may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than of a female.”
Transgender athletes competing against the gender of their choice has become a prominent issue in the world of sports, particularly in the world of high school sports. Several transgender athletes have taken women's titles in lifting and track and field, leaving hardworking, biologically female athletes out in the cold, even decades after feminists finally won recognition for women-only athletic competition.