When a bearded powerlifting coach entered a female event under the guise of “temporarily identifying as a woman,” he shattered the women’s record. However, people were cheering for him after they found out the big reason he made that move.
Avi Silverberg, team Canada’s former male powerlifting coach, evidently had enough of gender self-identification policies in powerlifting and noncompetitive men migrating to women’s sports. Specifically, Coach Silverberg had a beef with a transgender powerlifter named Ann Andres, who was born a male but identifies and competes as a female.
According to The Blaze, Ann Andres has placed first in multiple women’s weightlifting competitions in Canada and holds the record for women’s bench in the province of Alberta. Rather than remaining humble, the transgender athlete has gone so far as to ridicule the biological women whom they compete against.
As of early 2023, Andres had won eight out of the nine female competitions she has entered since 2019. The Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS), an advocacy group seeking to protect women’s sports from male infiltrators, indicated that outrage mounted after Andres added insult to injury, having criticized her competitors and claiming women’s bench powerlifting is “so bad.”
In a video posted to Instagram, Andres said, “Why is women’s bench so bad? I mean, not compared to me, we all know that I’m a tr*nny freak so that doesn’t count. And no, we’re not talking about Mackenzie Lee, she’s got little T-rex arms and she’s like 400 pounds of chest muscle apparently.” Andres continued, “Standard bench in powerlifting competition for women, I literally don’t know why it’s so bad. My son, he weighs 45 pounds. His max bench is like 33. I’m legit seeing some women in competition who are doing something like 50 pounds, and I just don’t understand it.”
That got the attention of Coach Silverberg who decided to temporarily identify as a woman as a means of protest. The newly self-described transgender athlete then attended the Heroes Classic Powerlifting Meet in Alberta to take on Andres head-to-head. A video shared by athlete activist group ICONS shows him walking up to the platform still fully bearded and wearing a regular men’s singlet.
Silverberg exploited the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s gender self-identification policy in order to test Ann Andres’ record with the transgender powerlifter watching. Not only did the male coach beat Andres’ record, but he cleared it by nearly 100 pounds. Andres had previously lifted 275 pounds. Silverberg casually pressed 370 pounds.
“What Avi so obviously points out is that policies allowing men access to women’s sports completely remove any integrity in women’s competitions,” Independent Council on Women’s Sports noted. “It doesn’t matter how Avi expresses himself or perceives himself. He clearly does not belong in women’s sport, and neither does any other [biological] male regardless of their motivation for wanting to participate,” added the women’s advocacy group.
Canadian weightlifter and YouTuber Greg Doucette praised Silverberg’s protest, saying, “How long before the powers that be suddenly wake up and smell the coffee and understand that if you’re born a female, you’re not going to be as powerful, as strong, as tall, as big … as if you were born a male. To me, the answer is simple: We add a separate category, a new category, the trans category.”
Others cheered Coach Avi’s protest. “Good for him. They are trying to destroy the female gender,” one admirer wrote. “Women do not have the same physical strength as men and are losing titles and scholarships to men identifying as women. It is a total joke. People with gender dysphoria are less than one percent of the population.”
Another commenter posted, “My favorite part is how he did nothing to try to look like a woman – kept his beard, male clothing, etc. Way to go, Avi!” And, yet another said, “Transgender athletes need their own competition category. This athlete points out the absurdity of the current rules. Well played! We salute you!”