KAUAI, Hawaii (LifeSiteNews) — Well-known female Christian surfer Bethany Hamilton, who famously lost her left arm in a tragic shark attack as a teenager, waded into the transgender sports controversy this weekend when she rebuked the World Surf League (WSL)’s recent decision to let gender-confused men compete in women’s surfing events.
The WSL announced Friday that it would immediately adopt the International Surfing Association’s October 2022 policy allowing men to compete against women as long as they fall below a specific testosterone threshold for at least 12 months and abide by any other requirements imposed by the ISA.
On Sunday, Hamilton said she won’t compete in or support any WSL events if the rule remains in place.
“I think many of the girls currently on tour are not in support [of] this new rule, and they fear being ostracized if they speak up,” the surfer said in a Sunday Instagram video reacting to the league’s February 3 announcement. “So, here I go.”
Starting out by affirming that she “strive[s] to have love for all of mankind regardless of any differences,” Hamilton nevertheless said she wanted to express her concerns about the move.
In her February 5 Instagram video, Hamilton referenced her 15 years of experience as a professional female surfer and raised her objections to the WSL’s new policy in the format of open questions.
“Questions I have that I want to consider with you,” she began. “How is this rule playing out in other sports like swimming, running, MMA [Mixed Martial Arts]?”
“Have any of the current surfers in the World Surf League been asked what their thoughts and opinions are on this new rule before it was passed or announced?” she continued. “Should there be a conversation with the 17 women and all of the men on tour prior to a rule change such as this?”
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Hamilton also questioned whether a purely chemical analysis of hormones is the best way to understand and appropriately assess gender for the purposes of sports team divisions.
“Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? Is it as simple as this?” she asked.
Continuing, the Christian surfer, wife, and mother of three boys asked who is ultimately behind the policy shift.
“Who is pushing for this huge change?” she asked. “Does this better the sport of surfing? Is this better for the women in surfing? If so, how?”
The pro surfer also said that instead of allowing men to compete against women, people who identify as transgender ought to compete in a separate division altogether, “so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent.”
Hamilton added that is “really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15 to 20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change,” though “glimpses” of that reality have already cropped up as men dominate their female competitors in other sports, including “running, swimming, and others.”
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“My hope is that if I ever have a daughter who is competing in surfing or any sport, and also for all the aspiring young generation of women, to have a bright and promising opportunity in her ambition to be the best of the best women in her sport,” Hamilton said.
Concluding, the surfer vowed not to compete in or support WSL events “if this rule remains.”
While Hamilton’s comments were received with condemnation by LGBT advocates, some of whom scorned her as “transphobic,” she also received support from fellow athletes and others who dove in to defend, affirm, and second the Christian surfer’s statements.
“Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe,” wrote former surfing champ Shane Dorian, according to Beach Grit. “Don’t listen to people who hurl the word transphobic at anyone who’s [sic] beliefs don’t align perfectly with theirs.”
“Less than 1% of people think this policy reflects fairness,” Dorian said.
Samaritan’s Purse president and CEO Rev. Franklin Graham also weighed in to support Hamilton.
“Pray for Bethany and other brave young women like her who are trying to defend what even common sense tells you is right,” Graham said.