Transgender Olympic Athlete Sparks Controversy

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Transgender Olympic Athlete Sparks Controversy

Nikki Hiltz Qualifies for U.S. Olympic Team

This week, transgender and nonbinary athlete Nikki Hiltz secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team bound for the Paris Olympics. In a heartfelt social media post, Hiltz expressed their joy and gratitude, stating, “Yesterday afternoon in Eugene, Oregon, a childhood dream of mine came true. I’m not sure when this will fully sink in … All I know is today I’m waking up just so grateful for my people, overwhelmed by all the love and support, and filled with joy that I get to race people I deeply love and respect around a track for a living.”

Journey of Identity

In 2021, Hiltz shared their journey of coming out as nonbinary on social media, revealing they had first come out about their sexuality at 19. “Yesterday at 26, I came out about my gender identity,” Hiltz wrote, explaining that they competed in the women’s category during the Olympic trials. They elaborated, “That means I don’t identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. The word I use currently to describe my gender is nonbinary.”

Further detailing their experience, Hiltz described their gender as fluid: “Sometimes I wake up feeling like a powerful queen, and other days I wake up feeling as if I’m just a guy being a dude, and other times I identify outside of the gender binary entirely.”

Read also : Visibility of LGBT+ Athletes at Paris 2024 Olympics

Social Media Reactions

The announcement of Hiltz’s qualification sparked a range of reactions on social media. Some users supported Hiltz, while others criticized their participation. Jennifer Sey, founder of XX-XY Athletics, differentiated Hiltz’s situation from that of Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, stating, “This is a woman competing in the women’s category. No one is opposed to this. The headline should read: Hiltz headed to Paris Olympics.”

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In contrast, a user known as Isaac’s Army claimed, “Nikki Hiltz, a biological man, is headed to the Olympics to represent the USA after destroying the female competitors in the Olympic trials.” This post was met with a community note on X (formerly Twitter), clarifying, “Nikki Hiltz is reportedly a biological female.”

Questions and Clarifications

Another user, Amy Nixon, questioned the rules regarding testosterone use and physical differences, commenting, “This athlete is not built like the other females in the race; it was clear to anyone watching.” Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Olympic Team and Hiltz for further comments.

IOC Policy Changes

Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) updated its policies on transgender athletes. The IOC emphasized the importance of inclusivity and respect in sports, stating, “This Framework recognises both the need to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sex variations, can practise sport in a safe, harassment-free environment that recognises and respects their needs and identities.”

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