Home LGBT Male NCAA Div. I Runner Switching to Women’s Team After Identifying as Trans

Male NCAA Div. I Runner Switching to Women’s Team After Identifying as Trans

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A runner on the women’s cross-country team at the University of Montana, Juniper Eastwood, will become the first transgender athlete to compete on a Division I women’s running team, The Associated Press reported.

Eastwood, a biological male who identifies as a female, said questioning about his gender began in fifth or sixth grade.

“You shouldn’t have to give up what you love, to be who you want to be,” Eastwood said of his competing on a women’s team.

Steve McConkey of 4 WINDS Christian Athletics sees it differently.

“The women that I’ve been talking to — the former top, world-class athletes — are saying this is a game-changer and that this is very unfair and that this is the end of women’s sports as we know it,” he told One News Now.

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According to the running blog Let’s Run, Eastwood’s best times while running on a male team are significantly faster than many long-standing NCAA records held by women.

To meet NCAA rules, Eastwood has been taking testosterone-suppressing drugs for the past year.

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“(I’m) nervous and excited. Nervous for what that means and how people will react, but excited because I haven’t competed in 15 months, and excited to get this started,” Eastwood said.

Brian Schweyen, head coach of the University of Montana’s track and field program, said he’s fully supportive of Eastwood’s decision to compete on the women’s team.

“There will be mistakes made and lessons learned. But those lessons will be fantastic,” Schweyen said.

University athletic director Kent Haslam said the college is abiding by NCAA rules.

“I am not in a position to know if June will gain an unfair advantage,” Haslam said, according to the Daily Caller. “It is not my area of expertise and therefore we rely on the policies as set by the NCAA.”

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After competing on the men’s cross-country team for three years, Eastwood began researching NCAA rules and decided he could compete as a female.

“I felt kind of stuck. I had done this running thing for so long and was pretty miserable doing it, because I was pretty miserable in men’s racing,” Eastwood said.

“I felt like I still had more years in me, and that I would regret it later on if I didn’t at least try to do what I am doing.”

Biological men who identify as women competing in female athletic events has stirred controversy.

In June, three Connecticut high school female athletes filed suit against state rules that have allowed biological males to compete against them, CBS reported.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” said Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the female students. “Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn’t force these young women to be spectators in their own sports.”

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