So many men who claim to be women are forcing their way into women’s sporting competitions these days, it’s becoming hard to keep track of all the athletic institutions that sacrifice fairness and the dignity of their female athletes to avoid offending sexually deviant men.
Here are 10 of the most prominent individual women’s competitions men have co-opted — not counting team sports like basketball, in which a 50-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch divorced man named Gabrielle Ludwig played on the women’s team at California’s Mission College in 2012, just half a year after undergoing transgender surgery. Nor can this list fit the numerous high school competitions that have been compromised — like the track and field events in Connecticut where male runners like Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood denied girls like Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, Chelsea Mitchell, and Ashley Nicoletti a shot at 15 state titles.
Perhaps the most infamous of all the men who have invited themselves into women’s competitions and locker rooms is Will/“Lia” Thomas, the male NCAA swimmer who switched to women’s swimming in 2021. Thomas won a Division I national championship the following spring, after beating out female swimmers in the 500-yard freestyle competition.
Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer who tied with Thomas for fifth place in the 200-yard event, has called Thomas a “cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman,” after administrators handed the trophy to Thomas and reportedly sent Gaines home empty-handed to later receive a trophy in the mail.
CeCé Telfer ran unsuccessfully on the men’s track team at Franklin Pierce University before switching to the women’s team. He went from being ranked 390th in the NCAA Division II men’s 400-meter hurdles in 2017, to coming in first place in the women’s 400-meter competition two years later at the NCAA Women’s Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
A few years after that, he was deemed ineligible for the U.S. Olympic trials.
NCAA Cross Country
Jonathan Eastwood “won state titles in multiple men’s races” in high school and enjoyed athletic scholarships at the University of Montana. In college, he started going by the name “Juniper” and competing in women’s competitions.
Male weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, after competing against men for years, represented New Zealand at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the women’s super-heavyweight category, denying that spot on the team to a female athlete. It wasn’t the first time he bumped a woman from the chance to compete: In 2018’s Commonwealth Games, Hubbard’s presence forced Tracey Lambrechs to drop a category to make room.
“When I was told to drop the category because Laurel was obviously going to be their number one super, it was heartbreaking, like super soul-destroying,” Lambrechs recounted. “And it’s unfortunate that some female, somewhere is like, ‘Well I’m going to miss out on going to the Olympics, on achieving my dream, representing my country because a transgendered athlete is able to compete.”
Richard Raskind, a 6-foot-2-inch man who captained the Yale tennis team, entered a women’s tennis tournament in La Holla in 1976 under the name Renee Richards and won the championship before being found out as a man in his 40s. He continued to push for access to women’s competitions and played in the U.S. Open the following year.
More recently, Richards has admitted the unfair advantage he had as a man playing against women. “[M]aybe not even I should have been allowed to play on the women’s tour,” he is quoted as saying in the 2012 book Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame. “I know if I’d had surgery at the age of 22, and then at 24 went on the tour, no genetic woman in the world would have been able to come close to me.”
Fallon Fox, a man who already had a receding hairline when he underwent surgeries to look like a woman as an adult, competed as a mixed martial arts fighter between 2012 and 2014, with a 5-1 professional record.
In a 2014 match against Tamikka Brents, Fox overpowered Brents in minutes, leaving her with a fractured skull that required seven staples in her head.
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night,” Brents reportedly said afterward. “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.”
After some confusion online about the women Fox had injured, he appeared to boast about beating up women like Brents in a now-deleted Twitter post. “For the record, I knocked two out. One woman’s skull was fractured, the other not,” the post reads. “And just so you know, I enjoyed it. See, I love smacking up TE[R]FS in the cage who talk transphobic nonsense. It’s bliss!”
Nyla Rose and Gisele Shaw are both men who compete in women’s wrestling. Rose was awarded the All Elite Wrestling Women’s World Championship title in February 2020 and has also taken home three Covey Promotions Women’s Championship titles, a United Pro Wrestling Association Women’s Championship title, and two Warriors Of Wrestling Women’s Championship titles.
Shaw beat out real women for titles in the Crossfire Wrestling Women’s Championship, Fierce Females Championship, Ironfist Women’s Championship, Progress World Women’s Championship, Pro Wrestling Eclipse Flame Championship, and Revolution Pro Wrestling British Women’s Championship.
Golfer Breanna Gill, a man, took home a trophy at the Australian Women’s Classic in April. The Women’s PGA Tour of Australasia touted Gill’s win with a now-deleted tweet that proclaimed: “Showing nerves of steel, Breanna Gill triumphed in a playoff for her first professional win.”
Two other men had previously stolen victories from women in golf: Hailey Davidson in 2021, when he won in a professional mini-tour event, and Mianne Bagger back in 2004, when he competed in the Women’s Australian Open and later qualified for the Ladies European Tour.
Just last month in the women’s category of the annual “Tour of the Gila” cycling race in New Mexico, Austin Killips, a man, beat out female bicyclists for the win and the corresponding $35,000 first prize. His win prompted criticism from female athletes including Olympic gold medalist Alison Sydor, who protested that the Union Cycliste Internationale’s “rules that allow males to compete in female cycling events are not fair to female athletes.”
Killips’ “Tour of the Gila” upset wasn’t the first time a man claiming to be transgender stole opportunities from women in the cycling world. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — held the following year thanks to Covid-era shutdowns — male athlete Chelsea Wolfe filled an alternate slot on the American women’s BMX team, presumably denying the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Olympics to a real woman. Wolfe expressed a desire to win the games so he could “burn a US flag on the podium.”