Transgender Athlete Claims Victory Over 14-Time Female Fencing Champion
In a recent sporting event, a transgender female athlete, Liz Kocab, who is biologically male, secured victory in the Women’s Epee competition at the 2023 FIE Veteran Fencing World Championships in Florida. Kocab’s win came at the expense of Marja-Liisa Someroja, a 14-time female fencing champion from Finland.
Kocab, an American fencer, expressed his desire to support USA Fencing as one of the reasons behind his participation. He explained, “I wanted to support USA Fencing. I really did. Otherwise, I was actually thinking of stepping away. But the fact that it was in America, I thought that was important to support the USA. This is my way of saying thanks to USA Fencing.” This victory marked Kocab’s eighth time securing a women’s title.
The issue at hand revolves around the policy of USA Fencing, which was updated in 2022 to accommodate transgender competitors. Under this policy, all women’s categories were opened to individuals identifying as transgender females, regardless of their biological sex. This policy was designed to enable transgender athletes to participate in USA Fencing-sanctioned events in a manner consistent with their gender identity/expression.
USA Fencing CEO Phil Andrews affirmed the organization’s unwavering commitment to this policy, regardless of how the situation evolves within the sporting world. Even as some sports organizations reconsider the participation of males competing with females, USA Fencing remains steadfast in its support of transgender athletes. Andrews stated, “To be clear, even as this issue evolves, our support of transgender athletes will not waver.”
The primary requirement for biologically male fencers to compete as women is that they must provide documentation demonstrating one year of testosterone suppression treatments before entering the competition.
It’s important to note that the timing of Kocab’s transition is not explicitly mentioned in the report. However, it’s worth noting that in college, Kocab, then known as “Greg Kocab,” was a member of the 1972 NCAA National Championship team and earned All-American status in 1973.
Critics of this policy argue that it raises questions of fairness in women’s sports. Women’s sports activist Riley Gaines went as far as to call Kocab an “entitled cheat” for securing her eighth championship title.
The matter of transgender athletes in sports remains a topic of ongoing debate, and it is important for governing bodies to carefully consider the implications and consequences of their policies on the world of sports. Although supporters of transgender-friendly policies argue that they are necessary to uphold the rights of transgender individuals and create a more inclusive sporting environment, fairness must be maintained in competition, particularly when biologically male athletes compete in women’s categories.