CeCé Telfar Will “Keep Pursuing Her Dreams” Amid Regulation Changes For Transgender Athlet...

Last week, World Athletics announced new regulations that would prohibit athletes who have gone through what they refer to as “male puberty” from participating in female world ranking competitions. CeCé Telfar, who became the first out transgender athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019 has responded, claiming her own questioning of whether her “years of blood, sweat, and tears” were worth it. 

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CeCé Telfar made history as the first out transgender athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019. The American 400-meter hurdler recently responded to new regulations from the governing body World Athletics which announced they would be prohibiting athletes that “went through male puberty” to compete in female world ranking competitions. 

Telfar stated in an interview with CNN Sports that the regulation changes also hit hard due to the fact that they began being enforced on March 31st – Trans Day Of Visibility, however, she claims there’s still hope for her and other transgender athletes out there. 

“The overriding feeling was definitely devastation for myself and for many around the world,” Telfar said

“I’m still going to keep pursuing my dreams and keep competing and keep running as much as I can, wherever I can, however I can.” 

Previous World Athletics regulations stated that transgender women with serum testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months could compete in elite competitions under the women’s category.  

The new policy also reflects regulations introduced by WA for swimming last year, which stated transgender women couldn’t compete in major categories if they “experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.” 

“The science shows that anyone who has gone through male puberty retains male anatomical differences that provide an athletic advantage. The World Athletics Council was unwilling to compromise the integrity of the female category without evidence that these male advantages can be ameliorated,” World Athletics said in a statement to CNN

However, the science backing up WA’s claims is inconsistent. The WA has even acknowledged that there is “limited existing experimental data” on the alleged advantage transgender women competing in women’s categories have. This is just one of the reasons Telfar especially is not ready to give up on her career.

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“Honestly, I’m not ready to hang up my spikes yet. I have so much left in me. The fight has just started. To throw that all away – my life of training will be for nothing. I’m going to keep doing what I have to do and show my people and society moving forward that I’m never going to give up.”

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Telfar is still able to compete at track meets outside of the WA’s jurisdiction, and is currently gearing up to compete at the Bryan Clay Invitational next month. 

“I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people giving me the side-eye, wondering what I am doing here. But I’m going to always show up no matter what, and I’m just going to have to stay focused,” Telfer says.

Telfar is also struggling to find a solid base of people to support and guide her through her athletic journey, she’s currently competing without a coach. 

“There were coaches that were interested, but after researching me and seeing the controversy that revolves around an athlete like me, a lot of coaches feel as though their reputation is going to be jeopardized or their career is on the line. A lot of them are just like: good luck, we wish the best for you, but we’re not the ones to coach you right now.” says Telfer.

Despite all the odds, Telfar is looking forward to continuing her athletic journey. 

“There’s a place for each and every one of us and I know where I belong. I just want the world to know that.”