Australian athlete Jamie Gumbrell has become the first out trans woman to win the women’s World Croquet Federation championship. And predictably, the right wing media has swung into full outrage mode.
Gumbrell claimed the victory back in August, beating the 2011 world champion and current European champion Rachael Gee. But The Telegraph recently resurfaced the story under the headline “Fury as biological male wins women’s croquet world title.” The outlet put much emphasis on the fact that Gumbrell (who is 23 years old) is one of the youngest competitors and that she won the championship at her first attempt.
Most of the subsequent news coverage has been negative, filled with misgendering and pretransition photos of Gumbrell. However, transphobic competitors have continued to present themselves as the victims.
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“There was a huge amount of disquiet,” said Sue Lightbody, a competitor on England’s team. “But nobody was prepared to say or do anything.
“I was quite sick about the situation. We thought it would go against us, that we wouldn’t be picked for another team. Everything was hush-hush, everyone was worried about being called transphobic.
“People told me not to get involved, saying, ‘Don’t do anything, you’ll make yourself very unpopular.’ But this just shouldn’t happen. It fundamentally isn’t fair.”
Another anonymous competitor said, “I really felt sorry in the final for [former world champion Rachel Gee], who at the end was hiding behind her sunglasses because she was crying.”
World Croquet Federation president Ian Burridge responded to these attacks, saying, “The fact that Jamie was assigned male at birth is not disputed by anyone. Jamie now identifies as female as her entry into the world championship was determined in accordance with our policy, approved by our members in April 2021.”
From that statement, it sounds as though the organization is committed to standing behind Gumbrell’s win. Unfortunately, that will not stop the right wing media from personally smearing and making an example of Gumbrell.
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