". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘Morally Unjust’: 49-Year-Old Man Beats Disabled Women to Win Medal

July 18, 2023

A 49-year-old man who identifies as a transgender woman won a women’s medal in running at a competition intended to include women suffering from physical disabilities — an outcome one theologian called “morally unjust.”

Valentina Petrillo, whose birth name is Fabrizio, won the women’s 400 meter bronze medal at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris, a sporting competition intended for women with physical disabilities. His placement denied 27-year-old Fatima Ezzahra El-Idrissi of Morocco a place on the winner’s podium alongside other women athletes last Thursday. Petrillo was 18 years older than any of the women competing in the race.

“This isn’t only athletically absurd, but morally unjust,” said theologian and university professor Adrian Hilton. “May I ask (courteously and sensitively) why do female athletes not simply boycott contests where a male athlete is ‘inclusively’ participating as a woman? Is it for fear of being labelled a ‘bigot?’”

Petrillo has justified those fears, lashing out that his critics belong “on the same level as Hitler.”

But the sight of Petrillo defeating far younger women raised the eyebrows of seasoned sports writers. Oliver Brown, chief sports writer at The Telegraph of London, described it as “[j]ust an absurd situation that Valentina Petrillo, who only began transitioning in 2019, can be on a global athletics podium for women at the age of 49.”

“Would a 49-year-old be winning world medals if they were competing against other biological men?” asked Samantha Smith, columnist at The Spectator. “I doubt it.”

Others noted that the medal going to Petrillo, who suffers with Starsgardt Disease, allowed a man to take a championship away from a visually impaired woman.

“A middle-aged man was allowed to compete against young women with disabilities because he wanted to take his crossdressing fetish into the public sphere,” wrote Genevieve Gluck, co-founder of Reduxx, on another occasion when Petrillo defeated a woman with physical challenges in a race. “And of course ‘Valentina’ Petrillo became irate when he was prevented from using the women’s locker room.”

In March, Petrillo won the 200 meter women’s indoor masters title in Ancona, with a finish time that would have rated him 14th place among other men.

“Cheaters usually hide their deeds, but this bloke is happy to do it out in the open,” said Sarah Perry of The Heritage Foundation. Another wag observed, “Seems that the authorities who enabled this, were also visually impaired.”

Petrillo has collected nine female sports trophies since receiving cross-sex hormone injections four years ago — a move Petrillo, who won 11 titles as a male, has portrayed as a net negative for his sports career. “Better to be a slow happy woman than a fast unhappy man,” Petrillo told the BBC.

A string of mediocre male athletes have medaled after identifying as women. William Thomas ranked 462nd among male swimmers before transitioning and, as Lia Thomas, broke women’s swimming records.

Austin Killips, 27, has dominated women’s cycling events since identifying as a female, beating his female competition by a whopping five minutes to win the 131-mile Belgian Waffle Ride in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in June.

The same holds true at the high school level. Terry Miller set Connecticut state records in female track and field in 2018. Miller and another transgender-identified runner named Andraya Yearwood ranked first and second in the state — and in the top 10 nationally — in the girls’ 55-meter dash in 2019, although they would have ranked 120th and 195th against their fellow males.

Allowing men to compete against women can have devastating consequences, as when — Fallon Fox, a male MMA fighter who identifies as transgender — fractured a woman’s skull during a match and later boasted, “It’s bliss.”

Many sports require males who identify as transgender to maintain lower testosterone levels before competing against women. However, female athletes say the bodies of men after puberty give them inherent advantages, even after correcting for lower hormonal levels.

The woman Petrillo beat in March, Cristina Sanulli, said female runners “do not feel equal, because Petrillo’s physical structure is male, so we are not running at par.”

“We feel very discriminated against,” she said.

Some sports have begun to take note of this, demanding a level playing field for female athletes. The International Cycling Union declared on Friday that “female transgender athletes who have transitioned after (male) puberty will be prohibited from participating in women’s events on the UCI international calendar — in all categories.” The ICU based its conclusions on “scientific knowledge, which does not confirm that at least two years of gender-affirming hormone therapy with a target plasma testosterone concentration of 2.5 nmol/L is sufficient to completely eliminate the benefits of testosterone during puberty in men.” The policy took effect Monday.

Killips lashed out at the decision, describing himself as a “scapegoat” to a shadowy “cabal of right-wingers.”

But even Petrillo has admitted he would feel uncomfortable racing against himself if he were a bona fide woman. “I asked myself, ‘Valentina, if you were a biological woman and had a Valentina, a trans, racing against you, how would you feel?’ And I gave myself answers: astonishment, confusion and doubt. I would have those things as a woman.”

“So, I believe these doubts and questions are legitimate,” Petrillo concluded.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.