Female participants in competitions run by the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) have said no to males in their competition. Together they threatened to boycott the competition and spoke loudly to oppose NAGA’s policy of allowing males to participate in female divisions.
The change was initiated after several males dominated female competition.
Corissa Griffith, a biological male identifying as female, captured four gold medals at the Oct. 21 Georgia Grappling and BJJ Championship, while Cordelia Gregory, another biological male identifying as female, also took home first- and second-place medals, according to a report.
Multiple female martial artists refused to compete against the transgender athletes out of fear for their own safety, and they had not been informed their competition would consist of transgender women, the report noted.
At the time the NAGA policy allowed the males to be included in female divisions.
"NAGA does not require biological women to compete against transgender women," an initial statement from NAGA following the criticism said. "Instead, we give the choice to the biological women and if they decline, they compete in a division only with other biological women."
Since the tournament, there has been a large outcry, from within the sport and on social media. As a result NAGA backed down and rewrote the rules to be fair and safe for all.
"We, as an organization, strive to ensure fairness, inclusivity, and respect for all competitors within our events. With regards to transgender females competing in NAGA, the following policy shall be implemented," the statement said.
"Transgender females must compete in the men's division," it added. "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."
This is sensible and fair. It allows all athletes to participate.
In Australia women and girls are threatened with legal action, sanctions, expulsions and fines if they threaten boycotts. Many athletes are too afraid to speak out. It will be costly, but this must be the course that females in Australia take.
The police tried to take out an apprehension of violence order against me for identifying males in female soccer competitions. They withdrew the application at the last minute without explanation or apology.
It is time more women, and their supporters, spoke out.
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