UPDATE: Bree-Danielle Wyatt shared her victory on Instagram, taking home a medal and the “Best Female Lifter” trophy!
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We won!!! 159kg squat, 81kg bench, 172kg deadlift. Big ‘thanks’ to everyone for their support. @citystrength_hq team are always AMAZING- @morgvnv @yeah.good @emfiniz thanks heaps for being there and supplying Milky Ways. @gretchen1302 thanks for telling me off for my dumbarse first squat and lecturing me in the lead up for my bench butt lifting ways @awesomefrances I appreciate your attempts at making me as uncomfortable as possible with public attention. And your purple lipstick. @johnfullnametran I am sorry for constantly being a source of panic. I’m not sure you recovered from that first squat. @joeydalisay for helping me become an IFBB pro and BBJ champion. So many people donated and have sent words of support. I really appreciate your encouragement. Speaking out means putting yourself at risk. People who reached out and pushed me along- thank you. I need to tag so many of the people that shared this, and I’m sorry if I forget anyone! One last plug... Donations to @twenty10glcs will stay open for a week, so please check the link in my bio. I scored an extra $200 for them with today’s prize money!
Original story: Bree-Danielle Wyatt — a self-described “white, cis, queer woman” who has competed internationally as a lifter and referee — is taking a stand for transgender inclusion.
The cisgender trans ally tells Outsports she is competing this weekend in her native Australia “to raise support and awareness of trans athletes in strength sports.”
“My powerlifting federation endorsed the IOC policy on including trans athletes. Many have spoken against this, including the owner of the gym, hosting the competition. I was going to withdraw, but friends convinced me to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds.”
If she wins, Wyatt says she’ll donate her prize money to Twenty10, an advocacy organization in a Sydney suburb that offers support for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and queer Australians.
Wyatt also posted her intentions on Instagram.
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IT IS GAME TIME, 9.30am Saturday, Athlete’s Authority, Artarmon. If I win, I will be standing by my word, and donating every cent to @twenty10glcs in a show of solidarity with trans powerlifters. Since @powerliftingaustralia and @worldpowerlifting announced they would follow IOC guidelines on trans athletes, this issue has blown up. @usapowerlifting has continued to ban trans lifters. @testosteronenation have published an article about the inclusion of trans women destroying women’s strength sports. A cis male DJ in the UK, falsely claimed to break a women’s national deadlift record, while temporarily identifying as a woman (which was shared with glee by people who didn’t fact check). Most people I know who participate in powerlifting, have found it empowering. Especially women, and increasingly men, who have been told by the world that their bodies are somehow not quite right. Powerlifting allows them (and me) the opportunity to appreciate our bodies for what they can do, not what they look like. It’s an inclusive community, that until recently, was very uncool. You can participate in your teens until your later years. Every weight is included. It doesn’t require a crazy level of skill- the lifts don’t have to be technically great, just within the rules. EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO FEEL THIS ABOUT THEMSELVES. The IOC have declared participation in sport as a human right. And I want trans lifters to know that they are welcome in my sport and in my federation. I want everyone to feel the sense of community and empowerment that powerlifting has afforded me. ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ If you would like to show your support, please donate via the link in my bio, or simply share this post. Much love! #sharetheplatform #sportisahumanright #hereonpurpose #istandwithtranslifters #transgender #queer #pullforpride #powerlifting #squat #bench #deadlift #transwomenarewomen #strongwomen #fitness #health #ally
In addition, Wyatt has a “GiveNow” online campaign, a crowdfunding site similar to GoFundMe, to raise money for Twenty10. And Wyatt tells Outsports, she’s hardly alone in being a trans ally.
“I want everyone to know, most people in my sport, want it to be inclusive,” she said in an Instagram message. “I want every trans lifter to know they’re welcome, and want them to experience the great things that this sport has introduced into so many people’s lives.”
Wyatt has seen the protests of a ban on trans powerlifters by cisgender competitors in the U.S., reported by Outsports, and said she feels inspired. Last month, the USAPL banned transgender competitors, specifically powerlifter JayCee Cooper, a Minnesota trans woman.
“It’s time for cis people like me, to use my position as a national and international representative in the sport, to make space for others who aren’t being heard.”
We asked Wyatt why she is an ally of trans female weightlifters, and her answer was so thoughtful and spot on, that we are running it in full:
“Many of these points are centered on trans women, as this is where most of the arguments around trans lifters in powerlifting, have been raised.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to equally experience life. This includes sport. Discrimination is not OK, and those of us who can, should stand up and say so. I’m a white, cis, queer woman. I have a voice in the powerlifting community, because of my place as an international athlete and national referee. I can make a difference.
“My federation is to comply with IOC regulations. They have made a ruling regarding trans athletes that is well considered, and looks at any potential benefit that can be gained from being born a male, and testosterone supplementation. They know better than bloggers what the science is. The board included seven PhDs. Many of the science arguments are thinly veiled transphobia, with the person who sparked my protest, refusing to even use the term ‘trans women’. He dehumanized these lifters to ‘M 2 F athletes’.
“Many also use the claim that there is an unfair advantage for trans women. Since when has everyone who participated in sport been afforded the same advantages? Some people are built better for certain sports. Someone of better financial means can access more coaching, better facilities and nutrition. Even where an athlete is located, can be an advantage. There’s no even playing field.
“The claims of advantage are also based of outdated understandings of transgender people. You don’t just choose to do this. It’s highly unlikely anyone is going to suffer through the pain of realising they are trans and transitioning, for a fringe sport that generally has no prize money attached.
“Just listening to the stories of anyone who has had this experience, would let you understand this isn’t something someone does for a plastic trophy. You don’t just wake up, throw on a wig and declare yourself a trans woman. There’s no glory. And people are transitioning from a younger age, so the concept of going through puberty and the associated testosterone is based on an old school concept of trans people.
“The claim that trans women are destroying women’s strength sport is ludicrous. Trans women ARE women. How can women participating ruin the sport for others?
“Those who participate in powerlifting, especially women, often talk about how the sport revolutionized their relationship with their body. They felt empowered, and realized their bodies were amazing for what they could do, instead of what they looked like. Everyone should be able to have this opportunity. It’s an inclusive sport, which is open to all ages, weights, and requires not that much skill. Why should we tell trans people that they can’t experience this? Because a trans woman might win? If she wins, it’s because she worked her damn ass off. Powerlifting always has had a complete variety of people involved, and it should stay a welcoming environment.
“The stats of self-harm, suicide and mental health issues among trans people are distressing. Excluding people because of their identified gender, is only going to add to these problems. Why add another barrier and make people feel more alienated? Surely making people feel welcome, supported and safe, is more important than any potential advantage? We’re talking about people’s lives. There’s humans at the end of these arguments who are being hurt.
“There’s very few people in this world who don’t know what it’s like to feel different and excluded. I can’t know what it’s like to be trans. But I do know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong. And I want trans people to know that people do support them. They have allies. I know there’s some dissenters, and they shout very loudly. But we need to speak up, so trans people know we’re here.
You can follow Bree-Danielle Wyatt on Instagram.