The North American Grappling Association (NAGA) has taken a significant step in revising its policy related to transgender female athletes participating in NAGA events. The move comes in response to a recent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament held in Georgia on October 21, 2023, where the participation of transgender athletes in the women’s category led to the withdrawal of many cisgender female athletes.
The NAGA released an official statement outlining the policy revision, which states that from this point forward, only cisgender female athletes will be allowed to compete in the women’s category. Transgender female athletes will now be required to compete in the men’s category.
This decision is motivated by the organization’s commitment to ensuring fairness, inclusivity, and respect for all participants in their events. To enforce this policy, the NAGA has established a clear protocol: any transgender athlete found competing in the women’s category will be given the choice to switch to the men’s division or opt for a refund.
The policy change follows an incident where Corissa Griffith, a trans-identified biological male, competed in the women’s category and secured four medals. It was revealed that the initial policy, announced in September, mandated officials to inform cisgender female athletes when they were competing against transgender athletes, but this regulation was reportedly not consistently enforced.
Notably, two cisgender athletes, Jayden Alexander and Ansleigh Wilk, both accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, competed against trans athletes without prior notification. In an interview, Wilk expressed her surprise at discovering she was facing a trans athlete and emphasized that the lack of notification left her unprepared for the match.
Infamous tennis star who is defending women’s rights, Martina Navratilova, previously issued a reaction to what’s been happening saying:
“Can males who identify as women be accommodated in sports? Of course. They can play in the men’s category. The men’s category can be redefined as “open.” Or they can create their own events, as the Gay Games have done every four years since 1982,” Navratilova wrote in her latest first-person essay for Genspect.
“I support any accommodations so long as male athletes do not take participation opportunities or scholarships from female athletes. The female category was created to provide opportunities for women to compete fairly. It was always intended to exclude males. We need to keep excluding them,” she added.