Surfer Bethany Hamilton Speaks Out Against Policy Allowing Transgender Athletes in Female Category
Surfer Bethany Hamilton is speaking out against a new World Surfing League policy that aims to increase accessibility for transgender athletes.
The pro surfer — who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing at 13 — took to Instagram Sunday to speak out against the league's new rules that would allow transgender athletes to choose which category they would like to compete in.
The rule follows the International Surfing Association's policy that dictates that transgender women may compete in the female category if their testosterone level is less than a certain amount for 12 months. This new policy is also in line with the Olympic guidelines.
Hamilton, 32, started her response stating she "strives to have love for all of mankind," but, said that as someone who has competed in these events for over 15 years, she is against this more inclusive policy.
"Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? Is it as simple as this?" she asked in her video. "Who is pushing for this huge change? How did whoever decided these hormone rules come to the conclusion that 12 months of testing testosterone make it a fair and legal switch?"
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Ed Sloane/World Surf League via Getty
She went on to announce that she would not be competing in the WSL if the policy is upheld, and said if she were to have a daughter, she wouldn't see a future for them in the sport either.
"I think the best solution would be to create a different division so all can showcase their passion and talent," Hamilton said. "And I think it's really hard to imagine what the future of women's surfing will be like in 15 to 20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change."
After receiving backlash in the comment section of her post, Hamilton doubled down Monday night in another Instagram video.
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She again critiqued the judgment coming down to hormone levels — expressing concerns if a woman is distilled to her "hormone number" — and claimed that she "knows" a lot of the women currently competing don't support this new ruling.
Hamilton also retaliated against the "hateful" and "cruel" comments of people disagreeing with her, adding that she won't stay silent and will continue to share what she believes.
"Now all the ladies see me taking this public and see what a hateful and cruel world it can be, where people sit behind their screens and instead of having a thoughtful debate or conversation, they choose to spew awful things and tell you to be quiet" she continued. "To me, that is a scary world, to shut up debate and conversation. I believe that is very wrong."
Other WSL surfers supported Hamilton in the comments, while many other athletes and followers critiqued her belief.
Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty
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Hamilton is a devout Christian and has previously used her platform to speak out against transgender rights in sports.
The WSL responded with a statement Monday announcing its efforts to align with Olympic guidelines.
"The WSL is working to balance equity and fairness, and we will continue to evaluate the policy in the months and years ahead as more research, information, and feedback are available," it read.