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Trans Athletes: The Concerning Case of CeCe/Craig Telfer

Trans Athletes: The Concerning Case of CeCe/Craig Telfer

In 2016 Craig Telfer was ranked 200th in Men’s 400m Hurdles

In 2017 Craig Telfer was ranked 390th in Men’s 400m Hurdles

In 2018 Craig Telfer transitioned and became a woman, CeCe Telfer

In 2019 CeCe Telfer is the national champion in women’s 400m hurdles


Reading over the above entirely true series of events, the controversy of CeCe Telfer’s dominating win for her college – Franklin Pierce University – in the NCAA Division II four hundred-meter hurdles becomes immediately apparent.

In late May Telfer, who had spent the previous 12 months undergoing hormone therapy in accordance with NCAA guidelines smashed her CIS female competition to become the champion of the category she had chased before becoming a ‘she.’

But unlike the guidelines of say, the International Olympic committee, the NCAA sets no standards for what amount of medication to do so must be taken nor for what level of testosterone is acceptable for the athlete to engage in female competition.

While trans athletes remain a rather small segment of total athletes across both the country and the world, the successes of MTF (Male to Female) trans athletes against CIS gendered female counterparts in various women’s athletics have triggered controversial – and sometimes vitriolic – discussions about balancing the preservation of female athletics with trans access in the era of hyper-political correctness.

Even the traditional bloc of ‘social justice warriors’ has been experiencing infighting amongst the ranks as some high profile women athletes see the rising domination of people born biologically male in their leagues and conferences as concerning, to say the least.

CeCe Telfer’s domination of the 400-meter hurdles that Craig had been so utterly mediocre in throughout their career in the men/mixed gender division has been the most recent high-profile case of potential abuse; at least according to many within the world of track and field.

Even traditionally apolitical outlets – generally more concerned with sport than policy – like athletics site LetsRunNews have seen themselves enter the fray as members of the track and field community lay out their concerns,

“Transgender woman CeCe Telfer, who was born and raised as Craig Telfer and competed on the Franklin Pierce University men’s track and field team during her first three years of college, won the women’s 400-meter hurdles national title at the 2019 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Telfer dominated the competition, winning in 57.53 as second place was way back in 59.21.


Prior to joining the women’s team this season, Telfer was a mediocre DII athlete who never came close to making it to nationals in the men’s category. In 2016 and 2017, Telfer ranked 200th and 390th, respectively, among DII men in the 400 hurdles (Telfer didn’t run outdoor track in 2018 as either a man or woman). Now she’s the national champion in the event simply because she switched her gender (Telfer’s coach told us that even though she competed on the men’s team her first three years, her gender fluidity was present from her freshman year).


The fact that Telfer can change her gender and immediately become a national champion is proof positive as to why women’s sports needs protection. Telfer ran slightly faster in the 400 hurdles competing as a man (57.34) than as a woman (57.53), even though the men’s hurdles are six inches taller than the women’s hurdles. Yet when Telfer ran 57.34 as a man, she didn’t even score at her conference meet — she was just 10th at the Northeast-10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2016. Now she’s the national champion.”


Is This Becoming a Serious Problem?


While CeCe and her coach have argued that her success compared to Craig’s lack thereof is neither due to the half foot decrease in hurdle height nor the change in competition on the field that comes with it, the reality is the science and standards in place don’t really make a strong case for that.

CeCe’s coach, Zach Emerson, has argued to those upset by the perceived unfair competition that CeCe’s massive leap from 390th in Men’s to the #1 spot in Women’s is due to a superior work ethic over her previous 3 years as a male athlete. Seemingly playing down the fact that CeCe jumped almost 400 spots from where Craig – by all rights just as dedicated an NCAA athlete – had been prior to therapy.

Such a fluffy feel-good narrative might satiate those who were merely looking to confirm a bias in support of CeCe’s successes/trans access, but for those of us daring enough to be ‘politically incorrect’ that answer is, well… a complete non-answer.

Medical physicist Joanna Harper, who has served as an adviser to the Olympics on transgender issues and is a male to female transgender person herself, affirmed the NCAA doesn’t have a set limit for testosterone for trans women, nor does she believe there is consistent verification of T levels. “The NCAA has not set a maximum T level for trans women, and I don’t believe that they do any independent verification of hormone levels,” said Harper.

Unfortunately for Telfer and co, when it comes to biology, ‘work ethic’ is a lot less important than muscle mass and the biochemicals supporting and/or augmenting that muscle mass. Since we know the NCAA did not at all gauge Telfer’s testosterone or manage her therapy it seems a lot more likely that the formerly male athlete had a biological advantage on the field as opposed to one of superior preparation.

With Telfer, her coach, and her supporters quite literally lacking any scientific evidence to offer to rebuke that seemingly obvious assertion – because they don’t have to – the growing concerns of the athletic community over the increasingly blurred lines of fair competition appear well warranted.

At the least, it affirms the arguments against trans athlete’s like Telfer’s ‘unfair’ successes are certainly not borne of bigotry, but hard empirical science and the concerns that come with it.

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  1. spunky

    Need to be in a medical facility for mental illness and not on a track

  2. Don B

    If it stops taking drugs will it compete as a male

  3. Robert Gagliardi

    Whom ever is Really in Charge Please STOP the Madness.These Atrocities should be looked at under a Microscope and an Anti-biotic found to get Rid of this Germ.

  4. RedBull

    Maybe I’m dreaming of a childhood that wasn’t what it seemed, but I seem to remember a code of honor where you respected the ladies, elevated them for their sensibilities and compassion, defended them when in trouble, and listened to them to find the oft emotional side to the argument. They balanced the male ego even when strong willed and stout. And moreover it was inconceivable to put up fists against her even if she approached like a rabid muskrat.

    So somewhere deep in the conscience of the men and women who put together sports events the idea that a man would switch sides and steal a victory like this was again inconceivable. Who would do that? What kind of character is that? How does this guy take any pride in the trophy. Who does he show it to?

    Clearly the world isn’t prepared for the depths of selfishness that is being kindled in our ‘liberal’ society today.

    • Knobby

      You are not the only one who remembers these ideals and ethics. It does seem like a dream. I feel that this new generation of ideas is denying our young people a full and grounded life. I can hardly believe it is happening so fast. Sometimes I think our generation was sleeping at the switch, to let this paradigm go unchallenged. You never know what you had, until it gets taken away.

  5. Bruce Walters

    Male and female athletes are biologically different. Could you imagine if Brock Lesner suddenly decided he was a woman and entered to compete in a woman’s wrestling tournament?

  6. Richard Hennessy

    That championship wasn’t won; it was stolen. Real female athletes should withdraw from any competition with a transgender entered. If no one participates, a competition can’t take place. Real female athletes shouldn’t allow themselves to be used like this.

  7. Alexis

    The only biological test that is needed is a chromosome workup. If XY, it’s male, XX, it’s female. I don’t care what gender the person identifies as. And in athletic competitions, it’s the only fair determination. If transsexuals want to compete, make a catagory just for them. Transexual vs transexual. I don’t care what meds they take, what surgeries they have done, nothing makes these males real females! The same goes for females wanting to be males. This whole issue is ludicrous!