“She put down female. Clearly, she’s not a female.”
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, a transgender powerlifter who was stripped this month of records she set after dominating a women’s national championship event challenged the notion that it was possible to clearly define biological sex – at least when it comes to categorizing male and female athletic competitors.
Mary Gregory boasted of her achievements after she won all nine of the events she entered and set four international records for the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation during a competition in April. But the joy over her superlative performance was soon cut short after backlash from prominent female athletes. Not long after, the president of 100% Raw, Paul Bossi, announced that Gregory had not told the league she is transgender, and that as a biological man, she is not eligible to hold women’s records.
“She put down female. Clearly, she’s not a female,” Bossi told the Post. “Not biologically anyways.”
“In our rules, we go by biological,” he said. “According to the rules, she can only lift in the men’s division. … I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings but I have to follow the rules.”
“We could’ve rectified a lot of this prior had we known,” Bossi added. “In a way, we felt like we were duped.”
But Gregory, who said she felt that 100% Raw was “invalidating” her gender and identity, took issue with the organization’s attempts to define “female.”
“Too much emphasis is put on testosterone,” she told the Post. “There are so many other factors that determine how much you lift: biomechanics, better leverages, joints, lengths of bones — where do we stop and draw the line? — socioeconomics and access to nutrition and coaching and gyms.”
In other words – who’s to say she’s not a woman? But some experts would disagree with Gregory’s take on testosterone not being an adequate dividing line for classifying male and female competitors.
For almost a year, Gregory has been taking estrogen and pills that reduce the testosterone in her body, which she said caused a noticeable decline in strength and her performance in the weight room. But being “inspired by other women” who don’t have testosterone and “still lift a lot of weight” led her to sign up for the April 100% Raw competition.
She claimed she didn’t alert the organization to the fact she was transgender because she had a doctor’s note for hormone treatment and is listed on medical paperwork and her driver’s license as female.
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Thank you for the opportunity to chat with you! ❤️ #Repost @platform_ready • • • • • • Last night I had the opportunity to speak with @75marylifts on #questionabledepthpodcast . A big thank you for sharing her story. Our sport is growing and evolving. Not every choice will appease everyone. I hope Mary’s story helps add to the dialogue on how we get from point a to point b and forward the common goal we all share of being on the platform and supporting one another in our shared interests. Regardless on your stance of transgender athletes it’s important to remember that everyone you interact with is a human deserving of decency. #platformready #sharetheplatform #powerlifting #transathlete #questionabledepth #roomforeveryone
After winning her events, Gregory was subjected by 100% Raw to a drug test, which determined she had male anatomy. The organization’s findings led to the ruling three days later that would lead to Gregory being stripped of her titles and getting barred from competing in the women’s division.
Bossi told the Post 100% Raw plans to soon introduce a category for transgender lifters.
Gregory is not a fan of the idea.
“Because it segregates us,” she said. “I think it’s discrimination. It’s not that different than having a category for tall people or for African Americans or for Hispanics.”