Bethany Hamilton, the surfer and former Rip Curl athlete, stirred controversy when discussing transgender athletes in surfing, leading some netizens to label her as potentially transphobic. So, is she transphobic? Let’s explore further!
Born on February 8, 1990, Bethany Meilani Hamilton is an American professional surfer and writer.
However, she returned to professional surfing after a 2003 shark attack that claimed her left arm.
She penned her autobiography, which was later adapted into the 2011 film Soul Surfer, crediting her strength to her Christian faith.
Recently, shark attack survivor and former Rip Curl athlete Bethany has shared her views on the transgender athlete debate in surfing.
Therefore, Internet users questioned whether Bethany Hamilton is transphobic in light of this matter.
Is Bethany Hamilton Transphobic? Fact Check!
Fame entails constant scrutiny with eyes on your every move, a reality for public figures.
Bethany Hamilton is no different, as she drew attention and faced accusations of being transphobic for criticizing Rip Curl’s promotion with transgender surfer Sasha Lowerson.
While some view Bethany Hamilton actions as transphobic, many athletes express support for her stance.
Meanwhile, some argue Bethany isn’t transphobic, citing LGBTQ+ friendships and concerns about advantages for transgender athletes in women’s divisions.
Furthermore, rumors are rife that Bethany’s split with the surf media has something to do with her disapproval of trans athletes.
Bethany Hamilton tweets,
Male-bodied athletes should not be competing in female sports. Period.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time she addressed the issue. Last year, Bethany criticized the World Surf League’s rules on transgender women in its events.
Bethany also said in an Instagram video that she would boycott WSL competitions if the regulation remained.
She further states,
I personally think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent, and I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15–20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change,
As a result, although some could characterize Bethany Hamilton as transphobic, the majority of athletes consider it essential.
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Rip Curl Transgender Leads To Boycott: But Why?
In recent months, ongoing controversy surrounds the inclusion of transgender individuals in various sports categories.
When Rip Curl posted a photo with Sasha Lowerson, a transgender surfer, Bethany, the former athlete of the company, criticized the move.
The 2023 split between Rip Curl and Bethany sparked speculation about her stance on transgender athletes.
Some claimed that athletes designated to the feminine gender at birth shouldn’t compete against transgender surfers like Lowerson.
Lowerson’s replacement of Bethany stirred online controversy, intensifying negative feedback and hostility towards the company.
We want to promote surfing for everyone in a respectful way but recognise we upset a lot of people with our post and for that, we are sorry.
Further, the post was removed, but the brand’s new critics protested Rip Curl’s subsequent social media posts, echoing the phrase “Go woke, go broke.”
Many expressed dissatisfaction and abstained in response to the brand’s stance, which prompted boycotts against it.
In addition, numerous tweets and posts across social media platforms call for a boycott of Rip Curl.