A male pro powerlifter took advantage of lax “inclusive” gender identification policies to enter the Heroes Classic tournament in Alberta, Canada after identifying as a woman. He broke the current record, which was also set by a transgender athlete, by nearly 100 pounds.
Avi Silverberg, the head coach for Team Canada Powerlifting for over ten years, entered the competition to make a statement about the unfairness of born-male transgender athletes competing with women.
A video shared by activist group the Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) on Twitter shows Silverberg walking up to the platform with a full beard while wearing a men’s singlet.
He then easily bench-pressed almost 370 pounds, crushing the previous record of 275 pounds. That record, ironically, was set by transgender athlete Anne Andres.
Silverberg was able to compete due to the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s stance on transgender athletes.
Its policy states individuals “should be able to participate in the gender with which they identify and not be subject to requirements for disclosure of personal information beyond those required of cisgender athletes.”
It also does not require any hormonal therapy or surgery for transgender athletes to be eligible to compete.
It is not clear if Silverberg presented a government-issued ID identifying him as a female, which is one of the union’s registration policies.
Andres, who holds the local record for all three women’s lift categories, was in attendance as a volunteer at the competition when Silverberg won.
She posted multiple video responses calling him “a coward and a bigot” with “malicious intent”.
However, in one clip, she reconsiders her place in the sport, saying “maybe my participation necessarily fair — you know, there’s science, whatever.”
But in a follow up, she said the science wasn’t her problem as she “transitioned almost 20 years ago” and went through surgery, so she will pass whatever standards any governing body implements despite going through puberty as a male.