“Couldn’t Make It Competing Against Men”: Outrage Over Transgender Fencing Champion

One anonymous fencer has stepped forward, voicing her concerns about the current policies of USA Fencing, the sport’s official organization, which allows transgender women to compete against biological females. Here’s the full story.

Recent Transition

At the center of the controversy is Eden Philpot, a trans woman who transitioned from competing in men’s events to participating in women’s competitions during the 2022-2023 season.

Philpot’s remarkable success, securing four gold medals, two silver, and a fifth and eighth-place finish in a matter of months, has raised concerns among fellow competitors.

What sets her apart is her ability to excel in two distinct disciplines — foil and saber — achievements that have been described as “highly unique” and unprecedented in the sport’s history.

“Total Disregard for the Integrity of Women’s Sports”

The anonymous fencer, who voiced her concerns, explained the need for transparency and fairness within the sport.

She said, “What I’m seeing happening right now is a total disregard for the integrity of women’s sports at all ages from girls to the seniors to the veteran women.”

“I’m seeing that people are afraid to say anything about it because there’s an executive body that has been extremely vocal about wanting to allow transgender women in the women’s division,” she added

USA Fencing’s Transgender Policies

USA Fencing has taken a firm stance in support of transgender and non-binary athletes, viewing it as both a moral and ethical imperative.

According to their policy, transgender athletes undergoing testosterone suppression treatment can compete in women’s events after one year of treatment, provided proof of compliant hormone therapy is provided.

“Stacking Odds Against Us”

However, critics argue that this policy lacks adequate measures to ensure a level playing field.

The anonymous fencer added,  “Women and girls not only deserve fair competition, they deserve the right to feel like they could win. Stacking odds against us at the start is incredibly disappointing.”

“Male-bodied individuals can enter the women’s division with simply a doctor’s note without external verification of hormone levels, surgeries, or in-completion or out-of-completion testing,” she continued.

“The Science of Those IOC Guidelines Might Be Imperfect”

However, Damien Lehfeldt, a member of the USA Fencing Board of Directors and an LGBTQ+ ally, argues for the rights of transgender fencers to compete according to their identified gender.

He said, “Transgender fencers deserve the right to compete with the gender they identify with, and those of adult age should comply with the competition guidelines and regulations outlined by USA Fencing and the IOC — even if the science of those IOC guidelines might be imperfect.”

“Nothing to Be Proud Of”

Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.

One Twitter user wrote, “His accomplishment really is nothing to be proud of. He couldn’t make it competing against men so he chose to be a bully and compete against women. Not a winner!”

Another user added, “I used to fence and I was bloody good at it.  After a while, I fenced with some of the blokes in my club: they used the saber which, as a woman, I wasn’t allowed to use. Utter domination: their speed and strength made me look like a kid playing pirates with a wooden stick.”

A third user commented, “Over and over again, nothing will happen unless women Boycott. If it was happening to men and they were losing medals, they would do something about it.”

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