Trans NCAA women's champion says she doesn't have an unfair advantage: 'I'm the weakest female'
CeCe Telfer, who won the NCAA women’s national championship last month, claims that she doesn't have an unfair advantage over her cisgender female opponents
Transgender athlete CeCe Telfer who had competed as a man before winning the NCAA women’s national championship last month has caused a massive debate about her having an advantage over other runners who were born female.
Now, after making history as the first transgender woman to clinch an NCAA track title, Telfer has claimed that she doesn't have any unfair advantage over female-born runners. In fact, her competing against them is a disadvantage for herself, as her body is going through several medical changes at the moment, she claims.
Telfer won the women's 400-meter hurdles at the Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships for Franklin Pierce University on May 25.
Sadly, ever since her triumphant feat, a lot of controversies have emerged about her competing in the women's category. Her victory sparked off a debate with certain people citing concerns about transgender athletes having an unfair advantage over other female-born athletes.
Telfer completed the run within just 57.53s; the second place opponent being a good margin behind at 59.21s. Telfer also earned All-American First Team honors with a fifth-place finish in the 100m hurdles earlier in the same day.
However, Telfer insists that being biologically male doesn't provide her with an advantage over her cisgender female opponents as the medical procedures she's going through for her transition leave her at a disadvantage.
"If anything, me competing against cisgender females is a disadvantage, because my body is going through so many medical implications," Telfer said during an interview with ESPN, adding: "It’s going through biochemistry changes. Being on hormone replacement therapy, your muscle is deteriorating, you lose a lot of strength because testosterone is where you get your strength, your agility."
From having to work twice as hard as her cisgender female opponents to being on lower testosterone levels than an average cis woman, Telfer opened up about the realities of her current predicament.
"I have to work twice as hard to keep that strength. If I slack a day, that’s like three days set behind. So, I have to keep up my workouts," she revealed in the interview. "I can’t drink, I can’t eat unhealthy because it’s going to impact me harder."
Addressing the testosterone controversy, she said: "That’s another disadvantage. Cis women are producing more testosterone than the average trans female. So it’s crazy! I’m the crazy one, to be the weakest female, the weakest link in the chain, to be competing against the top ones. I should be fingered as the stupid one, for wanting to do that in the first place."
But Telfer calls her unprecedented victory a 'powerful movement' and insists that her win has empowered her as a female athlete.
Born and raised as Craig, Telfer had first competed on the men's team at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire from 2016 to 2018, even though she personally identified as a woman all through the time.
In the 2016-2017 season, she wasn't even in the top 200 athletes in her event.
After competing as Craig for the last time in January 2018, Telfer resigned from the men's team and joined the women's team that October.
According to the NCAA guidelines, male athletes can compete in a women's event only after they have suppressed their testosterone levels for a year; before that, they can compete in the mixed-sex teams in the male division, but not in the women's.
Speaking about the increasing amounts of effort Telfer put in for her race, her coach Zach Emerson said: "It was tough conditions out here with the wind and the heat over the last three days but, as she has over the last six months, CeCe proved herself to be tough enough to handle it."
He added: "Today was a microcosm of her entire season; she was not going to let anything slow her down. I've never met anybody as strong as her mentally in my entire life. She's been incredibly motivated this year and I think the transition one million percent had something to do with that. It's like night and day as far as what she was willing to do as an athlete and how committed she was."