MTF transgender fencer beats 14-time women’s champion, sparking another debate about INCLUSIVITY and FAIRNESS in sports
The victory of a male-to-female (MTF) transgender fencer over a 14-time women’s champion did not sit well with many.
MTF fencer Liz Kocab’s victory against Finnish fencer Marja-Liisa Someroja at the 2023 International Fencing Federation (FIE) Veteran Fencing World Championships reignited controversies about the participation of transgender athletes in women’s competitions. Kocab’s victory against Someroja, a 14-time champion, gave him his eighth world championship.
Kocab, formerly named Greg, was part of the 1972 NCAA national championship team in fencing and achieved All-American status in 1973. Fifty years later he won his second title in the 70 and up age category while competing in the women’s division.
His dominance in women’s fencing has sparked a debate about inclusivity and fairness in sports. (Related: British Cycling bans ‘transgender’ males from women’s competitions.)
Former swimmer-turned-women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines slammed Kocab on X (formerly Twitter). “Kocab wins his eighth Fencing World Championship title … in the women’s category,” she wrote. “Winning a title as a male in the women’s category doesn’t make you a champion. It makes you an entitled cheat.”
Marshi Smith, co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, also joined the criticism. She accused the FIE and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of undermining the integrity of women’s fencing. “This man will retire as one of the greatest women’s fencers of all time because [the FIE] and [the IOC] made female fencing a joke,” Smith wrote.
USA Fencing’s transgender policy paves way for Kocab’s inclusion in women’s division
According to the Toronto Sun, it remains unknown when Kocab transitioned and for how long. But a blog post from the Transas City website pointed out that his height of six feet might have offered a competitive edge against biological women fencers with shorter statures.
USA Fencing’s implementation of a Transgender and Nonbinary Athlete Policy in November 2022 paved the way for Kocab’s inclusion in the women’s division. This policy allows athletes to participate in events sanctioned by USA Fencing – which is affiliated with the FIE – based on their gender identity and expression, irrespective of their ‘assigned’ sex at birth.
“We understand the critical importance of protecting the rights of nonbinary and transgender athletes in fencing,” said Phil Andrews, USA Fencing CEO. “While we intend to conduct further research into the physiological effects of gender transition specific to the sport, our support for transgender athletes remains steadfast. Our commitment to inclusivity will not waver as we evolve with the times.”
The national governing body for the sport in the U.S. also clarified the competition requirements for transgender athletes.
“Athletes being treated with testosterone suppression medication, for the purposes of USA Fencing-sanctioned competitions, may continue to compete in men’s events. However, they may only compete in women’s events after completing one calendar year (12 months) of testosterone suppression treatment. Proof of compliant hormone therapy must be provided prior to competition.”
GenderConfused.com has more stories about biological male athletes competing in sports divisions for biological women.
Watch this clip from the “Flyover Conservatives” podcast where attorney Theresa Lynn Sidebotham warns that allowing transgender athletes to compete against biological females is actually disregarding Title IX.
This video is from the Flyover Conservatives channel on Brighteon.com.
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