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Oshkosh Event Faces Backlash for Featuring Bethany Hamilton After Transgender Remarks

Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton’s previous remarks regarding transgender athletes have led to a community-led boycott of a women’s event in Wisconsin, where she is scheduled to speak.

Background of the Controversy

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Hamilton’s stance on the inclusion of transgender athletes in female sports categories, particularly in professional surfing, has sparked debate and controversy.

Legislation on Transgender Athletes

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Around 20 U.S. states have passed laws restricting transgender women from participating in female sports, amid debates over fairness and biological advantages.

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Community’s Response to Hamilton’s Event Role

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A group of community members in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, expressed dissatisfaction with the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation for choosing Hamilton as a keynote speaker, citing her views on transgender participation in sports.

Hamilton’s Boycott of World Surf League Events

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In February 2023, Hamilton announced her refusal to compete in World Surf League events due to their adoption of the International Surfing Association’s policy on transgender athletes.

Segregation Proposal by Hamilton

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Hamilton has suggested creating a separate division for transgender surfers, a position not based on athlete safety or sport integrity, according to critics.

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Community’s Call for Action

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The letter signatories are urging the Women’s Fund to remove Hamilton as the speaker and issue an apology to the LGBTQ+ community, stating their readiness to support the event once these steps are taken.

Hamilton’s 2023 Social Media Response

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Hamilton expressed her stance on social media, advocating for a separate division for transgender athletes to ensure fair competition.

Hamilton’s Withdrawal from Competitions

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Hamilton declared her intention not to compete if the World Surf League’s policy on transgender athletes remains unchanged.

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Criticism of Women’s Fund’s Decision

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The letter criticized the Women’s Fund’s decision to feature Hamilton as contradicting their mission statement of supporting all women and girls.

Allegations of Trans-Exclusionism

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The community members labeled Hamilton as a trans-exclusionist, arguing that her inclusion as a speaker is inappropriate for an organization that claims to support all women.

Financial Considerations Versus Inclusivity

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The letter suggested that the Women’s Fund might prioritize financial gain over the inclusivity of transgender women and girls, challenging the foundation’s commitment to its mission.

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Ongoing Debate

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The controversy surrounding Bethany Hamilton’s scheduled appearance at a Wisconsin women’s event highlights the ongoing debate over transgender participation in sports and its broader implications for inclusivity and representation in public events.

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