April Hutchinson is a formidable powerlifter representing Team Canada. She found herself embroiled in controversy after raising concerns about fairness in competitive sports.
Her critique centered around a male-born trans-identified athlete, Anne Andres. He recently competed in women’s powerlifting events.
Hutchinson faced a backlash from the Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) for alleged harassment and “misgendering” when she took to social media to express her reservations about Andres competing against female athletes.
On the other hand, Andres publicly ridiculed the woman he had beaten on social media.
Hutchinson sought legal recourse against her suspension and made an appeal. She stated in her written appeal: “Advocating for women’s sex-based rights and protections is about fairness and equality, not harassment. If women cannot state biological reality without being accused of harassment, then women cannot protest against the sex-based discrimination occurring against us. We are effectively silenced.”
The sole arbitrator assigned to review the case came to the conclusion that the CPU’s decision to discipline Hutchinson was reasonable, based on its broad definition of harassment in its Code of Conduct and Ethics. This is according to a press release issued by April’s attorney on Friday afternoon.
But there were procedural flaws in the decision-making process. Consequently, Hutchinson’s suspension was reduced from two years to one.
Pressure from the IPF led the CPU to adopt more stringent guidelines in November. This ensures that male athletes cannot merely “identify” as women to compete.
Hutchinson said: “I am grateful to the IPF for implementing a stricter policy. I’ve had nothing but a great relationship with the president. He’s been wonderful to work with. This accomplishment means more to me than any gold medal. And I have found my calling which is advocacy for fair sport for women.”
Despite her impactful contributions and the strides made toward fairness in competitive sports, April Hutchinson faces a roadblock as there is no further appeal process.