New Zealand’s Strongest Man to Compete in Women’s Powerlifting Contest to Protest Allowing Transgender Biological Men to Compete

New Zealand’s strongest man has registered to compete as a woman in the Global Powerlifting New Zealand Day of the Deadlifts competition to protest gender self-identification rules.

Dale Shepherd, 52, holds nearly two dozen national records in competitive weightlifting — which he has been doing for roughly four decades.

Shepherd applied to participate as a woman for the event in June.

“It is important to me that both transgender athletes and biological women both have the ability to compete in sports,” Shepherd told Reduxx.

“However, regardless of hormone treatment such as giving a biological male estrogen – the hormone primarily responsible for female characteristics – it does not totally negate all the years that male has had with higher testosterone levels resulting in greater bone density, tendon and muscle strength. As such biological women are at a significant disadvantage,” he continued.

“To maintain equity and preserve women’s sports, transgenders and biological women must have their own separate classes or eventually all women’s sports will be overtaken by biological men who now identify as a woman.”

According to the Reduxx report, the Global Powerlifting Committee of New Zealand (GPCNZ) appears to be scrambling to keep Shepherd out of the competition — even going so far as to change their rule book to say that he is ineligible.

The report points out that in their 2023 Rulebook, the Global Powerlifting Committee of New Zealand (GPCNZ) recognizes self-declared gender identity. In a section of the guidelines titled “Transgender Athletes,” GPCNZ states that “gender is presented on a spectrum” and that the organization “respects the autonomy of the individual and how they identify.”

“An archived version of the official website dated March 30 does not display the GPCNZ rules for trans-identifying competitors, instead leaning heavily on self-identification,” the report explains. “But, after submitting his application and declaring himself a ‘woman’ for the purposes of the competition, Shepherd was hastily sent an email and told he was not allowed to self-identify as transgender and must have been on estrogen for at least one year to compete.”

Shepherd is challenging their decision to exclude him.


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