NJ trans swimmer breaks women’s record but not everyone celebrates
🔷 NJ college swimmer breaks record
🔷 Critics claim transgender unfair advantage
🔷 School voices support for all athletes
A transgender member of the Ramapo College of New Jersey women’s swim team recently broke a school team record during a weekend invitational in Pennsylvania.
The new record has not been fully celebrated, as detractors immediately used the achievement to oppose transgender women athletes in women's sports.
Many of the loudest critics on social media are staunch conservatives who have been openly hostile to any trans equality issues.
But the issue of trans athletes competing with cisgender females has attracted concern from others including retired women athletes.
🔷Social media post was deleted
A social media post initially made by a school account was deleted.
School officials said it was a misguided effort to avoid negative comments.
"Ramapo College supports all of our student-athletes. As an affiliate member of the NCAA, Ramapo College Athletics follows all NCAA policies, including the NCAA Transgender Student-Athlete Participation Policy. The original social media post of Meghan’s achievement was deleted by a peer who wanted to protect their teammate from insulting comments on the post," the spokesperson said.
"The College continues to post team and individual student-athlete achievements for all programs on our Athletics website."
"The College has been checking in on Meghan and her teammates to ensure that they have the resources and supports they need to manage the attention and cope with the public vitriol. We would be remiss to not reiterate that there is a person, a team, a community, and broad public policy coursing through the heart of this story," the Ramapo College of NJ spokesperson said iWednesday.
🔷 NJ college trans swimmer breaks record
This has been Meghan Cortez-Field’s fourth year as a competitive swimmer but her first on the women's team.
During the first three, the college senior and Texas native competed with the men’s team, despite already beginning her physical transition.
While competing last year, she was not allowed to wear a swim top under penalty of disqualification, so Cortez-Field covered her chest with body tape for each swim meet.
Under regulations set over the past several years, trans women cannot join any college women’s swim team under NCAA oversight unless a blood test shows their testosterone level in serum is below 10 nmol/L. That level was based on guidelines first released by the International Olympic Committee in 2015.
In 2021, revised guidelines from the IOC eliminated testosterone thresholds, allowing for individual sport regulations to be set.
In an interview last year with The Ramapo News, Cortez-Field said she looked to fellow transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, of Penn State, as an inspiration but also with empathy.
“Even going into this season, I had a fear of succeeding, because I don’t want what happened to her to happen to me,” Cortez-Fields said in October 2022 — a year before her new school record erupted in controversy.
During the two-day event hosted by Misericordia University, she won the 100-yard butterfly in 57.22 seconds, a new program record.
A week earlier at a women’s swim meet with The College of New Jersey, Cortez-Fields also won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:01.67 but she placed third in the 200-yard butterfly, with a time of 2:26.64.
🔷 Retired pro athletes voice concern for trans and cis competition
Tennis pro Martina Navratilova tweeted that such a new swim record set by a trans female was wrong and a “mockery.”
The former pro has been consistently critical of trans athletes competing with cisgender female athletes, particularly amid the controversy over swimmer Thomas at Penn State.
In an interview last year with NewsNation, she said “it's not about excluding transgender women from winning, ever — but it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men."
Navratilova was coached to two Wimbledon wins by Renee Richards, a transgender female tennis pro.
Richards competed professionally against women when she was already in her 40s.
She told Sports Illustrated in 2019 that if she had competed in her 20s, she would have won Wimbledon and "I would have quit. That wouldn't have been good for anyone. Not me and not women's tennis.
Last year, FINA, the governing body for international swimming, issued a new set of regulations that ban transgender swimmers from competing against women unless they physically transitioned before the age of 12.
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