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(LifeSiteNews) – The North American Grappling Association (NAGA) is backing down and limiting “trans female” martial artists to competing against fellow men after a number of actual female martial artists withdrew from competition due to fears for their safety.

The New York Post reported that several female grapplers say that being pitted against male opponents who “identify” as women left them so distraught as to pull out of future tournaments.

Ansleigh Wilk describes feeling in “panic mode” upon being pitted against a male opponent without advance warning. She won, but says “they felt so strong, I was like, ‘Oh my God’ … I thought I couldn’t take them down […] This was always about the other girls traumatized by this event and the future of female grappling. I can’t believe people think this is OK.”

“The simple fact of the matter is that men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women, is absolutely unacceptable,” Jayden Alexander said. “The experience was horrible and scary … I was absolutely in fight or flight mode […] We don’t deserve to self-exclude from competitions to avoid fighting men. We deserve for there to be rules and regulations put into place that keep us safe and that protect us from these situations happening in the first place.”

135-pound Taelor Moore recently came out on top of a matchup against a 200-pound “transgender” opponent, but “could have been severely injured,” her coach Jimmy Witt said.

NAGA officials initially tried to explain away the situation as “trans” competitors simply checking off “female” and going unnoticed until their matches; existing rules stated that female entrants were supposed to be given the option of declining to face biologically male opponents. But NAGA president Kipp Kollare admitted via Instagram that the organization’s registration procedures were inadequate.

“We are adding additional text to the event and rules page … to help inform transgender females which division they need to enter,” he said, claiming that the preservation of “fairness for female athletes is our paramount priority,” and “even more important given the heightened potential for injury in grappling.”

Going forward, “male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty are excluded from competing in the female division at NAGHA events,” he announced.

“We will have divisions for only biological females. Transgender females will not be entered into these divisions,” the organization’s revised transgender policy states. “Transgender females must compete in the men’s division. We hope that the simplicity of this revised policy will help to avoid any future occurrences where transgender females enter women divisions. If NAGA staff is informed that a transgender female is in a women’s division, they will be given the choice to go to the men’s division or given a refund.”

Mandatory inclusion of gender-confused individuals in opposite-sex sports is promoted as a matter of “inclusivity,” but critics note that indulging “transgender” athletes undermines the original rational basis for having sex-specific athletics in the first place, thereby depriving female athletes of recognition and professional or academic opportunities. 

There have been numerous high-profile examples in recent years of men winning women’s competitions, and research affirms that physiology gives males distinct athletic advantages that cannot be fully negated by hormone suppression.

In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

In the United States, the various aspects of the issue have been highlighted by University of Pennsylvania swimmer William “Lia” Thomas, who reportedly retains male genitalia and is still attracted to women yet “identifies” as female and lesbian. Thomas quickly started dominating women’s swimming after switching from the men’s team and has caused his female teammates unrest due to sharing lockers with them. Yet the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has reportedly pressured swimmers and their parents against speaking out.