From The Jaws Of A Shark To The Jaws Of The Left

News Image By Suzanne Bowdey/Washington Stand January 29, 2024
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Bethany Hamilton survived a shark attack -- I sincerely doubt the Left can scare her. But that doesn't mean they won't try. Ever since last year, when the beloved pro surfer took a stand for girls' sports, she's been in the bullseye of the trans mob. 

Now, months away from a speaking gig at an organization for underserved girls, the woman at the center of one of the most inspiring true life stories of our time, is the target of a national LGBT boycott. Good luck trying to intimidate her. The Bethany we know is probably thinking, "Guys, a shark bit my arm off, and I got back in the ocean. I'm not afraid of you."

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the trans wave came for surfing too. Back in February of last year, the controversy boiled over in the World Surf League (WSL), which announced, to many people's dismay, that it would be adopting the radical policy of the International Surf Association. 

Under the new rules, biological men would be able to compete with women if they met a certain testosterone threshold. Bethany, a committed Christian who has turned her competitive platform into a powerful witness for Christ, drew an immediate line. "I personally won't be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains," she announced after 15 years with the WSL.

"I think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent," Hamilton said in one of two public videos she posted on the change. Like so many athletes caught in this trans onslaught, she struggled to understand how her sport could survive. "I think it's really hard to imagine what the future of women's surfing will be like in 15 to 20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change," she lamented.

"My hope is that if I ever had a daughter who is competing in surfing or any sport, and also for all the aspiring young generation of women, to have a bright and promising opportunity in her ambition to be the best of the best women in her sport."

A few months later, Bethany didn't have to imagine. She and her husband, Adam, gave birth to their first daughter, Alaya. For the mom of four, the debate was no longer about her. "I may not have the perfect answer," she admitted, "but I do feel the way I do and will continue to stand firm in what I shared here."

When the backlash started rolling in, she wasn't surprised. "I knew the hammer of mean and cruel and harshness would be thrown down on me for not going with the flow, for having a different opinion, for being open and sharing my questions, thoughts and my opinion on the new rules," Hamilton told her millions of followers. But despite the fact that other female surfers on the circuit have stood with her, the Left's hostility has been like a heat-seeking missile.

Now, the subject of the blockbuster "Soul Surfer" is the subject of the mob's hatred. Her upcoming appearance at a local community event in Wisconsin has become a national headline, with LGBT groups demanding Hamilton's disinvitation.

In a letter signed by 200 extremists, they argue that Bethany's participation is "a serious problem." "The Women's Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation's Mission Statement is to 'improve the lives of women, girls and all members of the communities of Winnebago County through philanthropy, grant making and education,'" they write. 

The organization's decision to host Hamilton as a keynote speaker "not only contradicts their mission statement," the protestors allege, "it undermines their community partnership initiatives toward ending isolation and loneliness, promoting youth mental and physical health, and supporting parents."

It also "creates ... a direct platform for amplifying anti-transgender bigotry in our own backyard," the group claims. Then, the signers insist, "A decision to platform and promote a self-avowed trans-exclusionist is an unacceptable choice for any organization to make, but most especially a community-funded nonprofit that claims to be supportive of 'all women and girls.'"

Of course, that's the irony: real women and girls are exactly who Bethany is supporting. This is a person, after all, who knows what it is to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. At 13, she lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark, nearly ending her career in surfing. But through grit, deep personal faith, and hard work, she climbed her way back -- winning her first national title within two years. 

The idea that her sport would intentionally handicap women is outrageous. By changing the rules, the WSL has essentially tied a healthy arm behind every girl's back, forcing them to surf against men who are stronger, with greater lower body muscle mass, higher vertical jump capacity, and myriad other advantages. Even the woman who Riley Gaines calls "the embodiment of courage" can't beat those odds.

FRC's Mary Szoch, who played Division I basketball at Notre Dame, could only shake her head. "It seems that it isn't enough to simply remove opportunity for women to compete fairly, but now the LGBTQ+ movement is also working to prevent women from even speaking," she told The Washington Stand.

 "Bethany Hamilton's decision to pull out of surfing rather than pretend that it is fair to allow men to compete against women is encouraging to women all across the country. As the mother of a little girl, I am grateful for every professional athlete who works to make sure that my daughter can one day compete in a safe and fair arena. She's teaching little girls around the world to stand up for what's right -- regardless of the cost."

What's even more astonishing is who these extremists are trying to punish. "The activist bully movement will stop at nothing," FRC senior fellow Meg Kilgannon said. "Trans activists will criticize a community organization founded by women for women for serving women and promoting women. They seem to have no idea how ridiculous it is to insist that men be called women, and how supremely absurd it is to question the legitimacy of a woman's ability to compete with women -- or criticize women who dare to speak that truth. 

I hope the Women's Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation will maintain their commitment to serving women and girls and stand strong in the face of this pressure campaign. We can support them in prayer to this end."

In the end, FRC's Joseph Backholm told TWS, what the protestors really object to is "the reality that our sex is a function of our birth --not our mood -- and so they're offended by anyone who reminds them of that truth." But at the end of the day, he pointed out, "their opposition makes Bethany Hamilton's courage all the more important. The more pressure there is not to say true things, the more important it is to say them."

For now, the blonde survivor will keep living life as bravely as she always has. At 33, she has a perspective few have. "I can imagine my life to be a life of simplicity if I let my fears lead me," she recently posted. "But I choose to try. I choose to face my fears. I trust that God's plan is better than mine."

She lost her arm, and now they want to take her voice. But life, Bethany writes, is about continuing on in the hard moments and knowing God is our peace and strength. "We keep paddling," she urges. Even when "your muscles are burning, there's another set wave about to crush you, and your mind is thinking, 'I'm so over this.'" Keep going, she encouraged. "Courage doesn't mean you don't get afraid," Bethany says. "Courage means you don't let fear stop you!"

She should know.

Originally published at The Washington Stand - reposted with permission.

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