Bethany Hamilton Boycotts Surfing Events Including Trans Women

Pro surfer refers to trans female athletes as 'male-bodied'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2023 2:00 AM CST
Famous Surfer Boycotts Events That Include Trans Women
Bethany Hamilton poses for a photo at the WSL Surf Ranch on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Lemoore, Calif.   (Poor Boyz Productions via AP)

Bethany Hamilton, the pro surfer and author of the memoir Soul Surfer whose arm was bitten off by a shark when she was 13, is boycotting World Surf League events to protest the league's new trans-inclusive policy. WSL said trans women will be allowed to compete in women's surfing events as long as they have their gender marked as "female" or "X" on a passport or national identity card, and as long as their testosterone levels are at 5 nanomoles per liter for at least a year. In a video posted to Instagram, Hamilton mused, "Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone is indeed a male or female? Is it as simple as this?" She referred to trans women as "male-bodied" multiple times.

The 33-year-old, who CNN reports is a "devout Christian," said she's airing her views on behalf of not only herself but others who feel the same way and are afraid to say anything for fear of being shunned. Hamilton says she's seen "glimpses of ... dominance" by trans women in sports, and she wants women's surfing protected from that. Her suggestion for the WSL? Create a trans-specific division, something pro surfer Kelly Slater also suggested when Surfing Australia released trans-inclusive guidance. WSL's new guidelines follow the International Surfing Association's policy on trans athletes. Some on social media responded to Hamilton's post by joking that they were now on the side of the shark that attacked Hamilton in 2003, BuzzFeed reports. (Read more transgender stories.)

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