Credit: Instagram
Olympians Protest After Transgender Powerlifter Shatters Women’s World Records

Olympians Protest After Transgender Powerlifter Shatters Women’s World Records

“This is a trans woman a male body with male physiology.”

A transgender woman dominated a national powerlifting competition in Virginia on Saturday, earning backlash from prominent female athletes.

Mary Gregory touted her achievements in an Instagram post on Sunday. She boasted that she had won all nine of the events she entered and set four international records for the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation.

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“What a day, 9 for 9! Masters world squat record, open world bench record, masters world dl record, and masters world total record!” she said. “[W]e did it!!!”

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What a day, 9 for 9! Masters world squat record, open world bench record, masters world dl record, and masters world total record! Still processing, full meet recap to come a bit later but I do want to thank a few people!💜 – From our initial consultation I told @savvysavit that I wanted to cut to the 82.5kg class, go 9 for 9, and set some records- we did it!!! I don't think she was happy with me cutting but she was there offering her support. When I needed a pick me up or advice she was there! Thank you coach!💜 – A huge thank you to @raw_powerlifting_federation_ , from the bottom of my heart! As a transgender lifter I was unsure what to expect going into this meet and everyone- all the spotters, loaders, referees, staff, meet director, all made me welcome and treated me as just another female lifter- thank you! And thanks to all the fans in the audience who cheered me on and congratulated me!💜 – Thank @rrrrachele for making the trip out to support me today, video my lifts, and cheer me on!💜 – And thank you to all the peeps on Instagram who reached out to offer your support!💜 – Now for 🍷 and 🍕!!! – #transgenderwoman#sharetheplatform#transrightsarehumanrights#lgbtq#bemoreawesome#upliftandliftheavy#morefemalestrength#richmondbalance#liftlunchlearnrva#squat#bench#deadlift

A post shared by Mary Gregory (@75marylifts) on

The U.S. championship was held at a hotel in Highland Spring, near where Gregory trains in Richmond. It was for athletes over 40 years old.

Gregory went on to thank the powerlifting federation and her supporters.

“As a transgender lifter I was unsure what to expect going into this meet and everyone- all the spotters, loaders, referees, staff, meet director, all made me welcome and treated me as just another female lifter- thank you!” she said. “And thanks to all the fans in the audience who cheered me on and congratulated me!”

However, two female former Olympians from the United Kingdom – where transgender rights have lately been hotly debated – joined many Instagram users in essentially calling Gregory a cheater.


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Sharron Davies, who won a silver medal in swimming, tweeted Sunday that Gregory has a “male body with male physiology” that creates “a pointless and unfair playing field.”

Davies added that she’s “for everyone living the way they wish,” but repeated her calls for transgender athletes to either compete against men or in a separate class.

Kelly Holmes, a two-time gold medalist runner, agreed, saying that the transgender women competing against biological women is a “bloody joke.” She warned that the transgender community will otherwise face “backlash and abuse” from sports fans.

Gregory – who according to her Instagram posts began taking hormones to transition nine months ago, shortly after coming out and ending her marriage – is the latest in a series of transgender athletes who have courted controversy by winning women’s powerlifting or other female sports competitions.

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Davies and Holmes, along with U.S. tennis legend Martina Navratilova, former U.S. sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, a four-time gold medalist, and British marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe, have led activism on behalf of barring such mixed competition. They have said they only seek to recognize the physiological reality that men are stronger and faster than women.

But LGBT activists have branded the women as bigots, with some going as far as to deny the existence of biological sex.

The debate extends well beyond sports. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, legislation is being considered to ease recognition and enhance the rights of transgender people.

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Cover image: Mary Gregory (Instagram)



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