News (USA)

Right-wingers claim trans women have unfair advantage in hot dog-eating contests

NEW YORK CITY - JULY 3 2015: contestants participating in Nathan's Famous July 4th hot dog eating contest gathered at Brooklyn's borough hall for weigh in presided over by Eric Adams & George Shea
Photo: Shutterstock

An anti-trans website devoted to denigrating trans women athletes seems to believe that trans women even have advantages in sports like darts, poker, esports, and yes, hot dog eating contests., which purports to be entirely volunteer-run, provides a list of cisgender women athletes and the victories they allegedly would have secured in various competitions had a trans woman not beaten them.

This list includes Nathan’s Famous 2021 July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest, which occurs annually at New York’s Coney Island.

The SheWon list names three women who would have come in first, second, and third place (rather than 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) had the actual winner, competitive eater Michelle Lesco, not won first place.

The kicker: Lesco is not even transgender. There have long been rumors about her gender identity, which likely stemmed from a 2021 podcast in which Australian football player Sam Newman mocked Lesco for being trans, though it’s unclear where he got that information.

But on Wednesday, Lesco responded to a post on X about the list to confirm her cisgender identity. “Just goes to show that people are more than willing to spread misinformation if it feeds outrage and vitriol,” she wrote before identifying herself as the 2021 winner and a “biological female.” has been getting some attention as of late. Anti-LGBTQ+ Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), posted a link to it on X and claimed that it highlights the wins that were “stolen from female athletes because of biological men wrongfully competing in women’s sports.” In reality, women’s sports are harmed far more by sexism and unequal funding.

One commenter pointed out that Mace basically handed the Democrats an argument in favor of trans inclusion, as the list identifies a minuscule number of trans NCAA athletes out of the more than 500,000 total competitors overseen by the collegiate sporting organization.

The commenter made a common point: that the vendetta against trans athletes is a problem concocted by Republicans to stoke fear. Not only are trans athletes not “dominating” in sports the way transphobes claim they are, but there are barely any even competing compared to the number of cisgender athletes.

In some states with anti-trans sports bans, Republicans have not even been able to name a time when trans athletes have ever caused a problem in their state.

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