Male powerlifting coach, Avi Silverberg, decided to show what a joke Canada’s woke gender self-ID laws are by claiming that he’s a woman and then bench-lifting 370 pounds, smashing the 275-pound record held by trans athlete Anne Andres.
The bearded athlete, who has been the head coach for Team Canada Powerlifting for more than 10 years, walked up to the bench in men’s clothing as part of his protest against the discriminatory gender self-identification policies that Canada has implemented in women’s sports. The silent protest of the rules put in place by the Canadian Powerlifting Union took place on Saturday at the Heroes Classic tournament in Lethbridge, Alberta, according to the Daily Mail.
Andres stood off to the side of the platform area and reportedly only walked back on after Silverberg walked off.
According to Canadian rules, anyone who self-identifies as a woman can compete in the female category. This has raised concerns over trans women who’ve gone through male puberty and may have a considerable physical advantage over biological female rivals.
The Canadian Powerlifting Union issued its “trans inclusion policy” in February. It was based on guidance from the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport.
The Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) said Silverberg “mocked the discriminatory (Canadian Powerlifting Union) policy” that allows competitors to register for events under their “gender identity and expression, rather than their sex or gender,” vowing “no consequences” for doing so.
Andres had previously made fun of biological women for being “so bad” at bench pressing, according to a video uploaded online.
“Why is women’s bench so bad?” the trans lifter mocked in February. “I mean not compared to me, we all know that I’m a tranny freak, so that doesn’t count. I mean, standard bench in powerlifting competitions for women. I literally don’t understand why it’s so bad.”
When Andres made the cutting statement, Riley Gaines smacked the trans lifter for it. Gaines is a spokeswoman for the Independent Women’s Forum and a competitive swimmer who went up against transgender Lia Thomas.
“Anne Andres (male who identifies and competes as a woman) doesn’t understand why female powerlifters are so ‘bad’ at bench press…” she tweeted. “Well I don’t know Anne, but maybe it’s because you have 20 times more testosterone than them. Just a thought…”
Anne Andres (male who identifies and competes as a woman) doesn't understand why female powerlifters are so "bad" at bench press….well idk Anne, but maybe it's because you have 20 times more testosterone than them. Just a thought…. pic.twitter.com/klxd4WaoYc
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) February 17, 2023
The clip was also posted by ICONS Women.
ICONS noted in a statement that “what Avi so obviously points out is that policies allowing men access to women’s sports completely remove any integrity in women’s competitions. It doesn’t matter how Avi expresses himself or perceives himself. He clearly does not belong in women’s sport, and neither does any other male regardless of their motivation for wanting to participate.”
Andres has also posted a series of videos calling Silverberg “a coward and a bigot” with “malicious intent.”
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Andres did admit “maybe my participation isn’t necessarily fair — you know, there’s science, whatever.” But the transgender also said it was not his problem, however, because he “transitioned almost 20 years ago.”
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“I got surgery — I can prove without any doubt whatsoever that I have gone through every step, which means whatever governing body decides to make decisions, I will pass that test. I actually care about women in sport because I AM a woman in sport,” Andres captioned one video.
This latest incident comes as more and more female athletes are speaking out against transgender individuals being permitted to compete in women’s sports with what is widely seen as an unfair advantage.
Trans swimmer Lia Thomas switched to the women’s team at the University of Pennsylvania in 2022 after spending three years on the men’s team. Thomas is 6 foot 3 inches and unsurprisingly broke records on the women’s team. Gaines and Thomas tied in an event and ostensibly because of cultural politics, Thomas was given the award, not Gaines.
Not only did Gaines see it as an unfair physical advantage but the locker room situation was untenable.
“You have someone with male genitalia pulling his pants down, watching you as you undress. It throws you off,” she remarked during that time.
Then in 2021, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Hubbard was almost twice the age of female athletes on the team. The trans weightlifter had competed in male weightlifting competitions beforehand. After taking 16 years off, Hubbard returned to weightlifting as a woman in 2017 and has won two World Championship silver medals.
In 2021, Hubbard was named sportswoman of the year by the University of Otago.
In 2023, a trans cyclist named Tiffany Thomas won first place at a female race in New York City as well. Thomas only began cycling in 2018.
World Athletics has since announced it will ban transgender athletes who have been through “male puberty” from competing in women’s world-ranking sports.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe declared that the organization “believes the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
The decision means Thomas will not be able to compete in the world championships or the Olympics and it means that a number of other trans athletes will also be out of luck.
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