‘Men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women is absolutely unacceptable. We don’t deserve to have to self-exclude from competitions to avoid fighting men,’ female martial arts competitor
Female martial artists dropped out of jiu-jitsu tournament after ‘fearing for their safety’ and being forced to fight against transgender women at competitions
The backlash has forced the world’s largest grappling association, [NAGA], to change its transgender participant policy
Female fighters reveal they have had to self-exclude to avoid competing against biological males in a combat sport
Several women boycotted a competition in October, claiming they were not warned they would be fighting transgender women
Taelor Moore at 135lbs fought and beat her 200lb transgender opponent, but a viral video of the fight sparked a huge backlash
Female martial artists dropped out of a major competition last weekend saying they felt ‘scared’ and ‘unsafe’ after being forced to fight transgender women at previous tournaments.
The backlash forced the world’s largest grappling association, the North American Grappling Association, to change its transgender policy on October 28.
In the past few months female athletes have been outspoken about feeling ‘sincerely scared’ fighting in the same categories as transgender women.
Professional martial artist Jayden Alexander said she was left ‘devastated’ after fighting a transgender woman in July and had self-excluded from future competitions to avoid competing against ‘biological males’ in a combat sport, again.
Alexander (pictured) said she wasn’t sure whether to speak out, as she feared being labelled ‘transphobic.’ ‘The simple fact of the matter is that men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women is absolutely unacceptable. We don’t deserve to have to self-exclude from competitions to avoid fighting men,’ she added.
Reflecting on that tournament, Alexander in a recent social media post about the experience said, ‘The experience was horrible and scary.’
‘I was absolutely in fight or flight mode and as a seasoned competitor, I can honestly say I’ve never been there mentally before in a match.
‘In the upcoming months, when I went to compete again, I had to self-exclude from a world series of Jiu Jitsu and from a women’s absolute bracket at a NAGA to avoid competing with not one but two trans-male athletes,’ Alexander explained.
Over the summer, videos of female competitors fighting transgender challengers went viral, and sparked outcries over fairness and safety. Some noted the transgender participants were much heavier than the female opponents.
Since then, the national association has changed its stance on transgender competitors.
Two transgender athletes took home medals at the October 21 event in Georgia, which several women boycotted
While the policy states that women would not be forced to compete against transgender fighters, several female competitors who have said that this is not the case, boycotted a late-October tournament in Georgia.
At that event, one of the transgender women, Corissa Griffith, took home four gold medals. Another transgender competitor, Cordelia Gregory, placed second in a tournament.
At first, Alexander said she wasn’t sure whether to speak out, as she feared being labelled ‘transphobic.’
‘The simple fact of the matter is that men, signing up in a combat sport to fight women is absolutely unacceptable. We don’t deserve to have to self-exclude from competitions to avoid fighting men,’ she added.
‘We deserve for there to be rules and regulations put into place that keep us safe and that protect us from these situations happening in the first place.’
Jayden Alexander, [in the red shirt], says she was not told that she would be fighting a transgender woman before the competition on July 8
Co-founder of Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Marshi Smith, told Reduxx: ‘I have now spoken to four women who have all fought male fighters in the combat sport of Jiu Jitsu. They are extremely upset.
‘They are self-excluding. They are emailing federation leadership and being dismissed.’
Another professional fighter, Ansleigh Wilk, said she was not told she would be fighting a transgender woman before a July 8 competition and was left in ‘panic mode’.
She said it was ‘completely undisclosed before the matches that she was a trans competitor.’
‘They felt so strong, I was like “oh my god.” Initially I was in total panic mode, I thought I can’t take them down,’ Wilk said.
Wilk won her match but decided to speak out, she said: ‘This was always about the other girls traumatized by this event and the future of female grappling. I can’t believe people think this is okay.’
Ansleigh Wilk claimed it was ‘completely undisclosed before the matches that she was a trans competitor’. – “I was sincerely scared [he] was going to punch me,” Wilk said. While she won the fight, she has chosen to speak out
Ansleigh Wilk [Black] and Cordelia Gregory [Purple] during their July fight at Submission Challenge: Wilk says, ‘This was always about the other girls traumatized by this event and the future of female grappling. I can’t believe people think this is okay’
The incongruity here came was highlighted in September when a video of a 135lb woman fighting – and beating – a 200lb transgender athlete went viral.
Taelor Moore shared a video of her fighting 200lb transgender athlete Alice McPike on social media with the caption ‘my biggest opponent yet’.
Although Moore won her fight, and did not appear to mind fighting a transgender woman, there was a strong public backlash.
NAGA was forced to issue a statement explaining that its policy offered women the choice of whether they wanted to fight transgender women.
But when Wilk and Alexander came forward and said they had not been informed or consulted in their previous fights, the North American Grappling Association, [NAGA], were forced to go further and change their policy.
Sharing their update last week, NAGA said: ‘We, as an organization, strive to ensure fairness, inclusivity, and respect for all competitors within our events.
‘We will have divisions for only biological females. Transgender females will not be entered into these divisions.
‘Transgender females must compete in the men’s division. 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.’