Female pool champion forfeits European final after refusing to play trans athlete

Irish pool champion Kim O’Brien made headlines recently when she took a stand against competing against transgender athlete Harriet Haynes at the European Pool Championships.

On February 29 as the European Pool Championships women’s final was about to commence, Kim O’Brien surprised the audience by refusing to play against transgender competitor Harriet Haynes.

O’Brien held up her hand to declare a forfeit. Although Haynes was first taken aback by the action, she quickly reached out to shake O’Brien’s hand as the audience applauded the Irishwoman.

O’Brien is a seasoned pool player with thirty years of experience. She is the Irish captain currently. Kim was selected for the 1992 England squad and played for them for five years before deciding to play for Ireland instead.

Kim O’Brien’s remarkable career in pool includes five Irish championship titles and European Championship victories in 2001 and 2010.

O’Brien’s controversial move garnered support from prominent figures, including Riley Gaines from OutKick, Sage Steele, Megyn Kelly, and Seth Dillon.

Riley Gaines tweeted: “Absolutely Incredible. At the European Pool Championships, female player, Kim O’Brien, forfeited the women’s final where she was set to play male player, Harriet Haynes.

I am happily paying her the prize money she lost out on. Stop playing their game. More of this!!”


In another tweet, she wrote:

“The point is it’s the WOMEN’S category…not a costume party.

It’s about transparency. If it was advertised as coed, then that’s a different story. But that’s not what this was. Why have a women’s category if anyone can compete in it? Women’s opportunities are only for women.”

This incident is part of a broader movement seeking changes in how competitions involving transgender athletes are organized and regulated.

Last year, transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Games sparked mixed reactions. Similarly, Lia Thomas’s dominance in swimming events against cisgender women has stirred controversy and calls for a reevaluation of competition regulations.