By Claudia Aoraha, Dailymail.Com Senior Reporter
15:16 30 Jan 2024, updated 18:17 30 Jan 2024
- Bethany Hamilton, 33, born in Hawaii, is banning all World Surf League events
- The organization allows transgender women to compete in the women’s category
- Mother said: ‘Male athletes should not compete in women’s sport’
One of the world’s most famous surfers who lost his arm in a shark attack as a teenager has shed new light on the controversy surrounding gay athletes.
Bethany Hamilton, 33, was attacked by a 14-foot shark while swimming in 2003 – but despite her life-changing injuries she became a professional surfer and took the surfing world by storm.
Hawaii-born Hamilton announced last year that he would boycott all World Surf League (WSL) events following his controversial decision to allow independent women to compete in the women’s division.
The angry mother-of-four wrote on X yesterday: ‘Male athletes should not compete in women’s sports. Time.’
His review was linked to online support. One person wrote: ‘It’s sad that this has to be said. Thanks for the response female athletes.’
Another said: ‘Thank you Bethany for speaking out on this important issue of protecting women and women’s sports!’
A third added: ‘Your voice is very important in swimming. Thank you from me. But the most important thing is to thank you from every little girl who caught her first wave. Pressure must fall on ISAsurfing and the WSL to change their thinking on this matter. International Athletics is in the Olympic Games but it has a biological system for women only.’
Some argued that he should not use the word ‘masculine.’ One person wrote: ‘I like the message, but… Please don’t use their language. The use of the word “man” gives a sense of their perverted voice. Just say “Men”.’
Hamilton had previously spoken out against the move to the WSL.
On Instagram last year, he said, “This worries me as a professional surfer who has been competing in the World Surf League for the past 15 years.
‘I feel that I have to speak up and stand up for those who are in a position to see if they don’t say anything about this.’
He said he believes athletes should have a separate role so they have ‘a better chance to show their passion and talent.’
Hamilton’s comments came as Australians called for a nationwide ban on Rip Curl’s use of a transgender woman on its social media accounts.
The company also tried to track every ad.
Rip Curl was criticized for using Western Australian surfer and transgender Sasha Lowerson to promote women’s surfing last week.
Lowerson, 44, was featured on the Rip Curl Women Instagram page on Thursday as part of the company’s Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia campaign.
Rip Curl has ended its relationship with Bethany Hamilton over criticism of the women’s sports competition.
In May last year, Sasha Jane Lowerson, a transgender researcher, told Daily Mail in Australia that she refused to surf to find peace, but the women who were most threatened by her actions assured her that she was part of them.
Lowerson said she remembers not being able to compete again when her transition began in 2020, fearing ‘violent rejection’ from the old guard of male swimming.
‘I got to the point where I couldn’t go on. “I suffered from many psychological problems that were symptoms of gender dysphoria … from agoraphobia to anxiety and depression, which led to several attempts in my life,” said Lowerson.
‘I didn’t choose to live my truth, I chose to live.’
This meant that he had to give up his favorite sport since school.
“Swimming was something that prevented me from changing because the old guard was a big fan of bishops and gay,” he said.
Surfing, which will be a new sport at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, adopted its policy of the International Surfing Association to participate as early as 2023.
The policy is recognized by the Olympic Committee and states: ‘The official methods used for transgender people (trans) and / or people with sexual differences must be evidence, respect for rights, and established in sports and games.’
It states that natural born male surfers must maintain constant testosterone levels for 12 months in order to compete in the women’s event.
Hamilton and fellow Aussie surfing legend Kelly Slater have previously called for a separate transgender section in the sport.
Around the world of sports, experts like former Kentucky University swimmer Riley Gaines have railed against women competing in the same competitions as women.
Earlier this month, protesters hoping to ‘save women’s sports’ said they were rallying outside the NCAA’s annual meeting to ban athletes competing in women’s events.
The rally included Gaines and former UPenn swimmer Paula Scanlan – a friend of athlete Lia Thomas – as well as many parents, students and activists from all over the women’s rights movement.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Scanlan said he and his teammates are fighting for honors in the chosen sport.
‘As a rape survivor, I was forced to strip in front of a man every day before going into Penn’s pool,’ she said. The NCAA contributed to these repeated injuries by failing to recognize women’s sports. We are asking the NCAA to give us respect again, ladies.’
The topic has divided the US in recent years, with critics saying transgender athletes have an unfair advantage over women in competition. At least 23 countries have enacted laws to protect women’s sports.