Transgender Archer Banned from Women’s Archery in Texas

By Brodie SwisherApril 19, 20225 Comments

Don’t mess with Texas. You’ve probably heard the slogan before. But it also seems like solid advice when it comes to archery traditions in Texas as well. 

An archer by the name of KellyJeanne Pyne claims transgender status and recently entered a Senior Women’s freestyle event at the Texas Field Archery Association’s Indoor State Tournament.

Pyne squeaked out the win by just one point ahead of runner-up, Linda Culwell. Pyne felt good about the win. 

“It felt like I had achieved something, and then that was rapidly taken away,” says Pyne.

Man Claiming Transgender Banned From Women's Archery In Texas
KellyJeanne Pyne has been denied the opportunity to compete in women's archery in Texas as a transgender competitor. Photo: KXAN News/Will DuPree

Unfortunately for Pyne, following the victory, three legitimate female archers submitted official protests of the win. The protests objected to Pyne competing in the women’s events. 

What was Pyne’s response to the protest? 

Pyne argues that there is no physical advantage in play. 

“The aim comes from your mental game – can you sit there and focus on that pin or on that dot and keep it in the center until the shot breaks?” Pyne said. “That’s your mental game. It really comes down to a mental game and practice.”

Pyne’s argument sounds simple enough. But let’s look at the facts. Pyne is a biological man. Compare most any men’s score on the archery range to the women’s, and you’ll see there is an obvious difference in ability between men and women. 

Just look at the Vegas Shoot, the most prestigious indoor archery event in the world. Terry Ragsdale was the first to shoot a perfect 900 score back in 1985. There’s only a few archers each year that push through all the  pressure to accomplish this feat and join this exclusive club. To join the 900 Club, archers must shoot 90 perfect arrows in the 4cm wide 10-ring over three days of cut-throat competition. Look through the records, and you’ll find a long list of male shooters in the club. Look for the ladies, and you’ll find 10. There is a difference. 

This message found on Reddit gives a good rebuttal to Pyne’s claim that there’s no physical advantage for men over women. 

Men and women compete separately in individual archery competition because men’s scores are typically higher. For example, the new WRs are 700 (male) and 673 (female).

This is in large part due to the men having higher arrow speeds. Higher speed leads to higher scores because higher arrow speed = less wind interference + more forgiveness for form mistakes. As such, men don’t have to account for the wind as much or be as precise with their movements. 

So how do men get this higher arrow speed? Two major reasons:

  • longer arms = longer draw length (basically how far you can pull back the bow)

  • stronger muscles = able to handle higher draw weight (basically how much force the arrows leaves the bow with)

So in conclusion, different physiologies require different categories.

According to KXAN News, the TFAA named four people to a protest committee, which spent three weeks looking into the complaints and finally emailed its decision to Pyne on April 5. The group decided unanimously Pyne was ineligible to receive the titles of TFAA Senior Female Freestyle Shooter of the Year and State Champion. They also ruled transgender archers could no longer participate in women’s events, but could still vie for men’s titles.

The committee’s three-page decision read, “In the event transgender male to female athletes are allowed to compete as women, the TFAA Protest Committee fears that in 20 years, all female records, in all sports may be held by transgender people, and no female records will be held by biological women. How is that fair to women?”

The report went on to say that Texas competition records show “men setting higher records in nearly every division and style of archery.” They also wrote they compared the scores of the archers at the most recent Olympic Games, and those showed the women would have failed to win a medal if they faced the men.

“This additional evidence supports the TFAA Protest Committee decision, that a ‘level playing field’ would not exist if Pyne was permitted to compete as a female,” the committee’s report read.

We reached out to several ladies on the pro archery tournament trail to get some feedback on their thoughts on the situation, but did not hear back regarding the matter. 

A big congrats to the Texas Field Archery Association for their stand on keeping things fair between male and female archers in Texas. 

What are your thoughts on this issue? Comment below and let us know what you think. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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