Last Monday, a male weightlifter called “New Zealand’s Strongest Man” asked to compete in a women’s powerlifting tournament. His goal was not to beat women in the sport, but to disprove the concept that biological men do not have a physiological advantage over their female counterparts — an advantage that male transsexuals appear eager to embrace while also denying.
Dale Shepherd’s application has subsequently been denied by the Global Powerlifting Committee New Zealand, which adopted new rules over the weekend that will prevent him from accessing the platform to make his point.
While Shepherd claims that the new guidelines are also “deficient,” it looks that his contentious application may have pushed a change in the right direction without breaking a sweat.
In recent years, some middling male athletes have migrated to women’s sports, reportedly in the intention of utilizing their sex-specific biological advantages to displace female athletes, therefore earning prize money, sponsorships, and other prizes.
A handful of weightlifting men have taken action because they believe this tendency is unfair and unsportsmanlike.
Dale Shepherd, 52, is one of a few men protesting gender identification policies and making a joke of the habit of noncompetitive guys attempting to compete against women.
Zuby, the stage name of British rapper Nzube Olisaebuka Udezue, did so in 2019.
According to the Times, Zuby, an Oxford graduate, broke the British women’s deadlift and bench press records, then joked that the prank was “strong, stunning, and brave.”
Zuby stated that his protest “touched a nerve,” revealing “the fallacies of the other side’s arguments.”
“I’ve heard that there is no biological strength difference between men and women. “I posted it a little tongue-in-cheek, pointing out what I think is the obvious absurdity of their argument,” the British rapper explained.
Avi Silverberg, former head coach for Team Canada Powerlifting, temporarily identified as female on March 25 and broke the women’s record set by a male transsexual, Ann Andres, during the Heroes Classic Powerlifting Meet in Lethbridge, Alberta, according to TheBlaze.
Silverberg used the same gender policy as Andres, then tested the transsexual athlete’s record in front of him. The male coach not only broke Andres’ record, but he broke it by nearly 100 pounds. Andres had previously bench-pressed 275 pounds. Silverberg pressed 370 pounds casually.
According to the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, “What Avi so obviously points out is that policies allowing men access to women’s sports completely remove any integrity in women’s competitions.”
Dale Shepherd has been lifting weights for nearly forty years, according to Reduxx. He set nearly two dozen national records while competing against other guys and held the “All Time Deadlift World Record” for nearly six years. He was named “New Zealand’s Strongest Man” in 2010 and earned four top spots in the 2022 Nationals.
Shepherd attempted to protest by entering the women’s division for the June Global Powerlifting New Zealand Day of the Deadlifts tournament.
“I identify as a woman for the purposes of this contest,” Shepherd stated on his entry form.
“It is important to me that both transgender athletes and biological women have the ability to compete in sports,” he told Reduxx.
“However, regardless of hormone treatment, such as providing a biological male estrogen – the hormone primarily responsible for female characteristics – it does not completely negate all of the years that male has had with higher testosterone levels resulting in greater bone density, tendon and muscle strength.” As a result, biological women are significantly disadvantaged.”
“To maintain equity and preserve women’s sports, transgenders and biological women must have their own separate classes, or all women’s sports will eventually be overtaken by biological men who now identify as a woman,” Shepherd warned.
According to Reduxx, the women’s rights organization Save Women’s Sports Australasia promoted Shepherd’s demonstrations with a tweet on April 14.
After the tweet went viral, the Global Powerlifting Committee New Zealand reportedly caught on to the scam and launched a desperate attempt to prevent Shepherd from entering.
Just after he submitted his application, the GPCNZ updated its website and rules, but maintained that “it is necessary to ensure that transgendered athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition, and are celebrated in the spirit of competitiveness and inclusiveness.”
Previously, the GPCNZ’s standards deferred heavily on applicants’ gender self-identification; however, the revised rules stipulated that male transsexuals must have “declared that her gender identity is female.” For a minimum of four years, the declaration cannot be amended for athletic purposes.”
Furthermore, according to the revised regulations, male transsexuals “must have undergone hormone treatment (if medically indicated) for at least 12 months prior to her first competition.”
The rules also state that “transgendered people who are not taking hormones… will be subjected to a complete confidential review.”
According to Stuff, GPCNZ spokesman and trustee Greg Turrell spoke with Shepherd about his entry.
“I went over the rules with Dale. Turrell stated, “He is ineligible.” “However, there is a provision for transgender women to compete in powerlifting in general.”
While the GPCNZ’s hasty adoption of the new criterion may make it more difficult for men to transition into women’s powerlifting, those who are dead set on deadlifting among women may simply need to avoid telegraphing their intentions like Shepherd did.
Turrell nevertheless admitted, “We need to balance the desire to be inclusive but protect the integrity of women’s powerlifting.”
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