Champion powerlifter who broke world records stripped of titles because she was 'still a man' during competition
A champion powerlifter who had transitioned from male to female before winning the world titles has been stripped of her medals after the sport's governing body ruled that she was still a man during the competition.
According to the Daily Mail, Mary Gregory of Virginia, set world records in the women's squat, bench press, and deadlift categories, and even earned a 'Masters total world record' for her powerlifting scores across the board at the 100% Raw Competition last month.
However, a little over two weeks after her overwhelming wins, the RAW Powerlifting Federation, which hosted the competition and who Gregory even thanked for their support and for treating her just like "another female lifter," has stripped her of her wins.
They ruled that Gregory was "actually a male" when competing, with federation president Paul Bossi confirming the decision in a statement to media. "It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a transgender female," he said. "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," he announced, adding that she technically did not break any world records as "the lifter’s gender classification for the purpose of our rules is not consistent with females."
Gregory had begun Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which includes using estrogen, and hormone blockers to regulate her testosterone levels, 11 months ago so she could go for the title, with a 2016 ruling by the International Olympic Committee stating that doing so created a level playing field.
But the decision to revoke Gregory's wins was still celebrated by the likes of ex-Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who tweeted, "This is a trans woman a male body with male physiology setting a world record & winning a woman’s event in America in powerlifting. A woman with female biology cannot compete... it’s a pointless unfair playing field."
Double Olympic champion runner Kelly Holmes backed that sentiment, replying to Davies and writing, "It’s a bloody joke and all getting ready for biological women to boycott certain events. Have a trans category if need be but even better a trans games. Otherwise I’m starting to worry about the backlash and abuse that the trans community will get from spectators. It will happen."
USA Powerlifting, which had previously issued a policy in January that almost completely banned transgender athletes from participating in its competition, dealt another hammer blow to the likes of Gregory.
During a meeting on the issue last week, members voted 46-5 to pass a policy that banned transitioning athletes from competing against athletes that match their 'gender identity.'
Explaining their reasoning, they wrote, "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."