Bethany Hamilton Gets Support After Criticizing WSL Eligibility Rules For Transgender Women

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Surfer Bethany Hamilton found support online from other athletes after speaking out against the World Surfing League (WSL) rules governing transgender women competing in events.

Hamilton said in a video posted to his Instagram on Saturday that he would not participate in WSL events if the rule is upheld. The WSL said that transgender athletes must maintain a testosterone level of 5 nmol/L for at least a year to participate in the women’s division.

Hamilton said in his video that he would rather see the WSL create a new division.

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Bethany Hamilton from Hawaii surfing in Round 2 of the 2020 Sydney Surf Pro at Manly Beach on March 8, 2020 in Sydney.
(Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

«Personally, I think the best solution would be to create a different division so everyone can have a fair chance to show their passion and talent, and I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will look like at 15.» 20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this big change,” she said.

After raising questions, Hamilton received some support online.

Olympic gold medalist skier Julia Mancuso and American NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines expressed their support for Hamilton in the Instagram comments section of her video.

“I support you Bethany,” Mancuso wrote. «Thank you for speaking on behalf of all women and girls. Those are all interesting questions to navigate this difficult topic and hopefully we can continue to fight for the future of women’s sports.»

Gaines added: «THANK YOU for using your platform to share this. I can’t express how inspiring this is.»

Former competitive surfing champion Shane Dorian also added his name to those who supported Hamilton.

Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii surfs in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round at the Billabong Pro Pipeline on January 30, 2022 in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii surfs in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round at the Billabong Pro Pipeline on January 30, 2022 in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
(Tony Heff/World Surfing League via Getty Images)

SURFER BETHANY HAMILTON SPEAKS OUT AGAINST NEW RULE ALLOWING TRANSGENDER WOMEN TO COMPETE WITH WOMEN

«Speak your truth! Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe in,» she wrote. «Don’t listen to people who throw the word transphobic around anyone whose beliefs don’t perfectly align with their own. These are complicated problems with no clear solution. Regardless, there are plenty of people who love and support the trans community who agree I agree with you on these matters.»

Hamilton went on to clarify his points in the comments.

«I was messaging a friend who is part of the (LGBTQ) community and I really don’t think there is a one size fits all solution right now,» he wrote. «There are different worldviews and that is part of life. I may not have the perfect answer. But I feel the way I feel and I will continue to stand by what I shared here.

«I mentioned testosterone because that’s how the Olympics and the World Surfing League decide if you can compete as a woman.»

Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii surfs in Heat 5 of the Round of 16 at the Billabong Pro Pipeline on February 2, 2022 in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

Bethany Hamilton of Hawaii surfs in Heat 5 of the Round of 16 at the Billabong Pro Pipeline on February 2, 2022 in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
(Brent Bielmann/World Surfing League via Getty Images)

WSL head of esports Jessi Miley-Dyer told The Inertia on Friday that the decision the league made was unanimous.

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«The WSL is working hard to balance fairness and justice, and it’s important that there is a policy,» Miley-Dyer said. «We recognize that policy may need to evolve over time as we receive feedback and see new research in the field.»

Fox News’ Maureen Mackey contributed to this report.

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