A Canadian trans powerlifter has set the unofficial world record in women’s powerlifting at Canada’s national championship, held in Brandon, Manitoba.
On Sunday, Anne Andres, a trans female athlete, competed at the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s 2023 Western Championship, beating out Michelle Kymanick and Sujan Gil in the Female Masters Unequipped category to win first place.
Andres is a biological man who identifies as a woman.
Andres currently holds multiple records in the female division, including women’s deadlift and bench press. Over the last 4 years, Andres has participated in 11 competitions and taken first place in 9 of them.
Andres total powerlifting score was more than 200kg higher than that of Sujan Gil’s, who came in second place in the competition. A “total powerlifting score” is the combined heaviest weight lifted for the bench press, deadlift and squat. Andres set a record of 597.5kg while Gil’s total was 387.5kg.
Had Andres competed in the male powerlifters’ championship, they would have still ranked amongst the top-performing.
Andres’ new record has not only broken the Canadian women’s national record, but also set a new unofficial women’s world record in powerlifting.
“Today I did some lifting. Not just some lifting. I got to lift with friends from across Canada,” wrote Andres in a social media post. “Keep in mind I turned 40 a week ago so suddenly being master 1 is kind of hollow. That in mind, I got every masters [sic] record and two unofficial world masters records. I don’t care about records. I care about being there with my friends.”
The Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) dictates the rules and regulations of the Western Canadian Championships and early this year the CPU announced a new self-identification policy for competitors.
The policy change was met with dismay from women’s rights groups who took issue with the fact that the change allowed for any male to enter into women’s competitions as long as they self-identified as a woman.
“Since we became aware of Anne Andres’s unethical participation in CPU female powerlifting in January of 2023, we have written letters, helped affected athletes obtain legal representation, and worked very hard to convince CPU to align with its own international federation to ensure fairness for Canadian women,” said Linda Blade, founder of the International Consortium on Female Sport.
Blade expressed her discontent with the CPU for letting Andres participate in the female competition. “The CPU insists on championing this unfairness and we condemn it wholeheartedly.” she said.
“Everyone was happy that I was there. And it really struck me that maybe my participation isn’t necessarily fair – I mean, there’s science, whatever – but people welcome me because I’m actually nice to people,” said Andres.
The CPU’s Trans Inclusion Policy explicitly states transgender powerlifters can participate in the sex category of their choosing under the guidance of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES).
The guidelines state: “Based on this background and available evidence, the Expert Working Group felt that trans athletes should be able to participate in the gender with which they identify, regardless of whether or not they have undergone hormone therapy.”
Prior to the CPU’s new policy, implemented this February, Andres had posted a video to social media mocking female athletes, asking why female athletes were “so bad” at bench press.
“Why is women’s bench so bad? I mean, not compared to me,” said Andres in the video. “We all know that I’m a tranny 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. I mean, standard bench in powerlifting competition for women. I literally don’t understand why it’s so bad.”
On Sunday, former competitive swimmer and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines criticized the CPU and Prime Minister Trudeau on social media. Gaines said it was Trudeau’s policies around gender that allow for the CPU to have biological males competing alongside biological females.
“Andres’ record is a mediocre lift by a mediocre male powerlifter because the Canadian powerlifting union is discriminating against female athletes,” said Gaines in a video posted to X. Gaines captioned the video by writing that Trudeau’s “radical disdain for women (and reality)” were “in effect.”