News (USA)

Surfer Bethany Hamilton speaks out against new inclusive trans rules

Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton Photo: screenshot

Popular surfer Bethany Hamilton has weighed in on the World Surf League’s (WSL) new trans inclusion policy.

She doesn’t like it.

In an Instagram video and subsequent comments, Hamilton takes issue with the WSL’s adoption of the International Surfing Association (ISA) policy on transgender women in the sport, which requires them to maintain a testosterone level of less than five nmol/L for at least 12 months in order to compete in the women’s division.

The new policy aligns the sport with Olympic guidelines.

“The WSL is working to balance equity and fairness, and we will continue to evaluate the policy in the months and years ahead as more research, information, and feedback are available,” the surf league said in a statement issued Monday.

Hamilton says she wasn’t consulted on the rules change and believes her fellow cis women surfers share her disapproval.

“I think many of the girls currently on tour are not in support with this new rule [sic],” Hamilton says in the video, without naming names.

The 33-year-old says she’s speaking up for those without a voice (or, by her logic, an Instagram account), who fear they may be “ostracized” for their views. According to Hamilton, there are 17 women on the pro surf tour.

Hamilton, a devout Christian, has been a face of women’s surfing since she lost an arm to a shark bite at 13. She’s been a popular presence in the media representing the sport on shows from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Among the surfer’s many grievances, posed as questions in her message:

“Who is pushing for this huge change?”

“Does this better the sport of surfing?”

“Is this better for the women in surfing?”

“Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female?”

“How did whoever decided these hormone rules come to the conclusion that 12 months of testing testosterone make it a fair and legal switch?”

“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?”

Clearly, Hamilton was not, and the new rules in her opinion are neither “fair,” “legal,” nor “honest.”

Hamilton’s solution to her “concerns”? A league of their own for “male-bodied individuals” and “converted women.”

“I want to be clear,” Hamilton says in the introduction to her complaints. “I strive to have love for all of mankind regardless of any differences.”

She finishes with a warning.

“I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains.”

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

People are losing it over the trans character’s name in new Harry Potter game

Previous article

Montana House approves bill allowing religious-based medical discrimination

Next article