Franklin Pierce University runner CeCe TelferTelfer, a biological male who identifies as a transgender woman, told ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” in a feature aired Thursday that female runners actually have an advantage.
“If anything, me competing against cisgender females is a disadvantage because my body is going through so many medical implications, like it’s going through biochemistry changes,” Tefler said, adding: “So being on hormone replacement therapy, your muscle depletion, your muscle is deteriorating, you lose a lot of strength because testosterone is where you get your strength and agility and all that athletic stuff, so I have to work twice as hard to keep that strength.”
Tefler won the NCAA DII women’s 400-meter hurdles championship last month, besting the second place finisher by more than a second. Before this championship, the runner competed for Franklin Pierce’s men’s team mostly using the name Craig, according to school records. According to NCAA policy, male athletes who identify as transgender can compete on women’s teams if they suppress their testosterone levels for a full calendar year.
Telfer competed on Franklin Pierce’s men’s team as recently as January 2018, according to published meet results from the Middlebury Winter Classic in Vermont. At that time, the transgender athlete had started using the name CeCe while still competing on the men’s team.
The issue of male athletes who identify as transgender competing in female athletics has risen in public debate, as male athletes keep dominating their female competitors. Earlier in May, the president of 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation removed the record set by a transgender weight lifter for a national women’s championship because the lifter is a biological man.