Surfer Bethany Hamilton found some support online from other athletes after she spoke out against the World Surf League’s (WSL) rules about transgender women competing in events.
Hamilton said in a video she posted on Instagram on Saturday that she wouldn’t compete in WSL events as long as a rule was still in place.
The WSL said that transgender women who want to compete in the women’s division need to have a testosterone level of at least 5 nmol/L for at least a year.
In her video, Hamilton said that she would rather WSL make a new division.
“I personally think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent – and I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15-20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change,” she said.
After Hamilton asked questions, he got some support online.
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In the comments section of Hamilton’s Instagram video, skier Julia Mancuso, who won a gold medal at the Olympics, and NCAA All-American swimmer Riley Gaines both supported her.
“I support you Bethany,” Mancuso wrote. “Thanks for speaking up for all women and girls out there. Those are all interesting questions to navigate this difficult topic and let’s hope we can keep fighting for the future of womens sports.”
“THANK YOU for using your platform to share this. I can’t express how inspiring this is.”
Shane Dorian, a former surfing champion, also added his name to the list of people who backed Hamilton.
“Speak your truth! Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe,” he wrote. “Don’t listen to people who hurl the word transphobic at anyone who’s beliefs don’t align perfectly with theirs. These are complicated problems with no clear solution.
Regardless, there many people who love and support the trans community who agree with you on these issues.”
In the comments, Hamilton went on to explain her points even more.
“I was messaging with a friend who is a part of the (LGBTQ) community and I really don’t think at this point there is a solution that will please everyone,” she wrote.
“There are different world views and that is part of life. I may not have the perfect answer. But I do feel the way I do and will continue to stand firm in what I shared here.
“I mentioned Testosterone because that is how the Olympics and World Surf League decide if you can compete as a women.”
Jessi Miley-Dyer, in charge of sports for the WSL, told The Inertia on Friday that the league made a decision that everyone agreed on.
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