Transgender powerlifter Mary Gregory, who claims to have broken four women’s world records in competition last month, has been stripped of her trophies and described as “actually a male.”
Gregory says she broke the squat, bench press, deadlift and total records for her weight class and gender at the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation competition.
Following the event, Gregory posted on Instagram on April 27, thanking the federation for making her feel welcome as a transgender athlete and treating her as “just another female lifter.”
However, in a statement released on May 1, 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation president Paul Bossi said the group has stripped Gregory of her wins because he believes she is male.
“It was revealed that this female lifter was actually a male in the process of becoming a Transgender female,” Bossi said in the statement.
“Our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification.
“On the basis of all information presented to the Board of Directors for this particular case, the conclusion made, is that the correct physiological classification is male.”
“Since the lifter’s gender classification for the purpose of our rules is not consistent with female, no female records will be broken by these lifts,” Bossi concluded.
Gregory told Outsports that the federation discovered she was assigned male at birth by insisting that an official supervise her taking a urine test.
She said: “I did my business while somebody watched me sitting on the toilet. And so that’s where that statement comes from, because I’m sure she told them, ‘Hey! This girl’s got a penis!’”
Mary Gregory had been taking hormones
Gregory told Outsports she had been taking hormones for 11 months, reducing her natural testosterone levels.
Guidelines released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2016 allow transgender women to compete in all sports as long as they are receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
While undergoing HRT transgender women take estrogen and testosterone blockers, which lower testosterone levels, and the IOC guidelines say this is necessary for trans women in sports to guarantee “fair competition.”
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However, some Olympic athletes have said they agree with Gregory’s disqualification.
Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies tweeted: “This is a trans woman a male body with male physiology setting a world record & winning a woman’s event in America in powerlifting. A woman with female biology cannot compete.. it’s a pointless unfair playing field.”
Double Olympic champion runner Kelly Holmes replied: “It’s a bloody joke and all getting ready for biological women to boycott certain events. Have a trans category if need be but even better a trans games. Otherwise I’m starting to worry about the backlash and abuse that the trans community will get from spectators. It will happen!”
Pride Sports responded to Davies’ tweet and made the point that to date there have been no transgender medal winners at the Olympics, suggesting the IOC’s qualification criteria created the “desired effect.”
The statement continued: “We also question Sharron’s use of the term male sex advantage. This is problematic because it implies that all men are stronger and faster than all women when in fact the difference between an average man and average woman is far less than between the fastest woman and the slowest woman, or the strongest man and the weakest man.”
Mary Gregory to become powerlifting referee
Gregory continues to be a part of the sport by refereeing for USA Powerlifting competitions, despite its own ban on transgender athletes competing.
She told Outsports: “One reason why I decided to continue lifting is because I wanted to give the middle finger to that stigma that you can’t be a strong, muscular female. I feel being strong and having muscles actually makes me feel sexy, and makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin.”
In January, USA Powerlifting, the American affiliate for the International Powerlifting Federation, which is separate from 100% Raw, issued a policy almost completely banning transgender athletes from competing in its competitions.
The organisation’s governing body will meet on Thursday, May 9, to further discuss the policy.