Why is a full-grown man competing against teenage girls in swimming?

A 50-year-old professor has been allowed to identify himself into a swimming league for schoolgirls.

Lauren Smith

Topics Identity Politics Sport World

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First they let men compete in women’s sports. Now they’re letting adult men compete against teenage girls – and wander into their changing rooms.

As hard as it might be to believe, in Canada a 50-year-old man really is being allowed to compete in swimming competitions alongside 13- and 14-year-old girls. Melody Wiseheart, formerly Nicholas Cepeda, is a professor of psychology and behavioural science at York University in Toronto, specialising in children and young people.

Concerned parents tipped off Rebel News, a right-wing website, about Wiseheart in October last year. He was spotted swimming in a competition at the Markham Pan Am recreation centre, representing the Orangeville Otters swimming club.

The next week, to try to stand up the story, Rebel News reporter Davide Menzies confronted several staff members at the recreation centre. Its competition coordinator initially said he could not recall seeing ‘a 50-year-old man’ competing alongside teenage girls. Menzies then presented him with the competition schedule, which showed Wiseheart’s name and age alongside those of nine teenage girls. Only then did the coordinator admit that Wiseheart had indeed been allowed to take part. The Daily Mail alleges that Wiseheart has been competing against teenage girls since 2019.

According to the competition coordinator, Wiseheart has the right to compete in girls’ competitions under Swimming Canada’s ‘trans inclusion’ rules. He has registered himself as female and is thus treated as female. And although the competitions he swims in consist almost exclusively of teenage girls, this is simply a matter of convention. It seems that, since no adult had ever tried to enter a teenagers’ race before, there had been no need to draw up explicit rules. In other words, Wiseheart did not even need to ‘identify’ as a 13-year-old girl to assert his ‘right’ to enter the girls’ competition.

Even as the controversy has flared up, Wiseheart has continued to enter girls’ swimming events. In December last year, parents again raised the alarm when Wiseheart competed in the Trojan Cup event in Ontario. This time, he was seen using the girls’ changing rooms. Reportedly, parents had to construct a makeshift tent out of towels to hide the girls from view as they changed.

Incredibly, Swimming Canada and Swim Ontario have since stepped in to defend Wiseheart’s participation in the teenage girls’ events. In a joint statement, they said:

‘Swimming is for everyone… people of all shapes, sizes, genders, beliefs and backgrounds should have the opportunity to swim to the best of their ability… with the expectation that our registrants treat each other with respect and dignity, and keep our sport environment free from harassment and abuse.’

When Swimming Canada and Swim Ontario say that swimming is a ‘sport for everyone’, they are clearly not including teenage girls. After all, it is hard to believe that Wiseheart was respecting the dignity of those girls who were ‘terrified’ at having to share a locker room with him.

A few weeks back, Rebel News revealed that Wiseheart’s swimming club, the Orangeville Otters, were given an ultimatum by angry parents from a rival club. The Otters were reportedly told they were no longer welcome to take part in a scheduled competition, so long as Wiseheart remained a member. But instead of bowing out and letting the rest of his team take part, Wiseheart remained in position. Sports for girls, it seems, should play second fiddle to validating a man’s trans identity.

How on Earth did we get here? As if it weren’t bad enough that men have been muscling their way into women’s sports. Now the likes of Wiseheart insist on competing against teenage girls and entering their changing rooms. And these people are being aided and abetted by sporting bodies, recreation centres and far too many adults who should know better.

This is what happens when you let trans ideology run riot.

Lauren Smith is an editorial assistant at spiked.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Identity Politics Sport World


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