After previously competing in the men’s division, a transgender woman has taken home the gold after winning the 400-meter hurdles in an NCAA event. Her name is Cece Telfer, and she has taken home the Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships gold during the 2019 NCAA competition in Kingsville, Texas in May. Despite the fact that the senior at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire was born male, she identifies as a female and has been afforded the right to compete with other females in the sanctioned NCAA event.
Despite the fact that Telfer competed in the male division as recently as January 2018, she finished her senior year competing with other women. She has undergone gender reassignment surgery and thus qualified to compete with other women in the 2019 track and field season.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has made the decision to allow athletes born as men to compete in the women’s division if they undergo hormone therapy or other measures that suppress their body’s production of testosterone, which Cece Telfer certainly has done. They have to undergo this process for a full calendar year before they can qualify for competition in the women’s division.
Because Telfer won the match, opponents to transgender equality are outraged. They argue that although Telfer and other transgender athletes undergo surgery and hormone therapy, they should not be able to compete with women because they were born biologically male. These opponents believe that transgender athletes gain an unfair advantage over the competition because of the fact that they were born as males.
Telfer won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.53 seconds. The person in second place completed the course in 59.21 seconds, which is pretty far behind in a running race of this length. Besides her victory in this race, Telfer also earned the All-American First Team honors because she finished in fifth place in the 100-meter hurdles earlier that same day.
Because of the victory, Telfer’s coach Zach Emerson praised the team’s success, saying:
“It was tough conditions out here with the wind and the heat over the last three days but, as she has over the last six months, CeCe proved herself to be tough enough to handle it. Today was a microcosm of her entire season. She was not going to let anything slow her down. I’ve never met anyone as strong as her mentally in my entire life.”
Tefler competed as Craig at Franklin Pearce University’s track and field team during the 2016 to 2018 seasons. When she started in 2016, she was not even at the top 200 male athletes in her event. She has since gotten a lot better at the events and managed to win the 400 meter curdles against the female opponents.