A transgender powerlifter who identifies as female has set a Canadian women’s national record, also smashing an unofficial world record in the process, according to Fox News. The feat drew criticism of Ottawa’s gender-based sporting guidelines from some advocates.
Anne Andres, 40, took first place at the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s 2023 Western Canadian Championship on Sunday, with a combined score of 597.5 kilograms (1,317 pounds), or some 210kg (460 pounds) more than her closest opponent.
“Keep in mind I turned 40 a week ago so suddenly being master 1 is kind of hollow,” Andres said in a social media post after the win. “That in mind, I got every masters record and two unofficial world masters records. I don’t care about records. I care about being there with my friends.”
The powerlifting union tallies scores by adding together top weights achieved in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Lifter SuJan Gil, who took second place, totaled only 387.5 kg (854 pounds).
Andres’ victory has stoked controversy among some activists, with the International Consortium on Female Sport (ICFS) declaring the record was won by a “male” and therefore not “legitimate,” also accusing sporting officials of “discrimination against the female competitors.”
Former American competitive swimmer Riley Gaines – who has campaigned against the participation of male-to-female transgender athletes in women’s sports – similarly condemned Canadian policies which allow biological males to vie against females.
“There is a new Canadian national record-holder in women’s powerlifting. The only problem is, it wasn’t set by a woman,” she said in a social media post, going on to slam Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “radical disdain for women (and reality).”
In February, Ottawa’s Working Group on Gender Equity issued a new “Trans Inclusion Policy” which permitted athletes to “participate in the gender with which they identify, regardless of whether or not they have undergone hormone therapy.” The guideline has come under fire from opponents like Gaines and the ICFS, who say it leads to unfair outcomes and allows biological males to dominate women’s sports.
Andres previously garnered media attention after male Canadian powerlifter Avi Silverberg entered a women’s contest in protest of the new inclusion policy earlier this year. He ended up shattering a bench press record previously held by Andres, who was present at the competition, and went on to publicly criticize sporting officials for alleged discrimination against biological females.