Dorries demands sports chiefs unite and ban male-born trans athletes

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries demands sports chiefs unite and ban male-born athletes from competing against women

  • FINA banned male-born transgender athletes from competing in female events
  • Dorries will hold meetings with Sport England and organisations representing football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics and more to urge them to follow suit
  • World Athletics’ Sebastian Coe hinted that the sport could impose a similar ban

Nadine Dorries has demanded that British sporting bodies should ban male-born transgender athletes from competing against women.

In an article, below, for The Mail on Sunday, the Culture Secretary reveals she will hold a meeting on Tuesday with Sport England and organisations representing football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics and other sports to urge them to follow the example of the International Swimming Federation (Fina) – the sport’s world governing body – by stating that trans women who have ‘gone through male puberty’ can no longer enter female events.

Fina’s move – followed a day later by a similar announcement from the International Rugby League – is hailed by Ms Dorries as ‘reason… returning to the world of sport’.

She writes: ‘When I gather our own sporting governing bodies this week, I’ll be making it crystal clear that I expect them to follow suit’. Her intervention comes amid growing international momentum to act to limit the potential biological advantage gained by trans women in competitive sport.

Fina acted after a scientific panel said going through male puberty meant trans women had a ‘relative performance advantage over biological females, even after medication to reduce testosterone’.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has hinted that the sport could impose a similar ban.

CONTROVERSY: Emily Bridges, pictured, is a male-born transgender athlete competing against women

Under Lord Coe, World Athletics has introduced rules that cap testosterone levels for transgender athletes, explaining: ‘We always believed biology trumps gender. We will continue to review our regulations in line with this.’ Football’s world body, Fifa, is also reviewing its ‘gender eligibility regulations’.

In March, cycling’s world body, the UCI, blocked trans cyclist Emily Bridges, 21, from the British National Omnium Championships amid threats of a rider boycott.

Ms Dorries argues that it ‘shouldn’t need to be said’, but ‘in the vast majority of sports, asking women and teenage girls to compete against someone who was biologically born a male is inherently unfair’.

She adds: ‘I have the greatest compassion for anyone who finds themselves living in a body they don’t recognise. But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t matter.

‘Sex has biological consequences. If you’re born a male, and you go through puberty as a male, your body develops natural physical advantages over a woman’s. That makes you stronger and faster. I’m setting a very clear line on this: competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone, but unequivocally and unarguably someone who was born female. I want all of our sporting governing bodies to follow that policy.’

Moves to reform sports entry requirements have been criticised by the LGBT rights body Stonewall, which says the ‘inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the issue only serves to perpetuate an atmosphere where trans people feel unwelcome to play community sport with their friends or go to the gym’.

By Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary

Fair is fair.’ I couldn’t have put it better than Caitlyn Jenner, who, like me, welcomed the International Swimming Federation’s decision this week to ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s events if they have gone through male puberty.

A day later, the International Rugby League echoed that decision – announcing it was barring male-born transgender players from competing in women’s matches while it conducted more research.

Finally, reason seems to be returning to the world of sport – and when I gather our own sporting governing bodies this week, I’ll be making it crystal clear that I expect them to follow suit.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but in the vast majority of sports, asking women and teenage girls to compete against someone born male is inherently unfair – particularly when we know there are existing challenges and barriers that stop women and girls getting involved in sport.

I have the greatest compassion for anyone who finds themselves living in a body they don’t recognise. If you’re born one sex, and want to live your life as the other, this Government and our NHS will give you all the help and support you need to do so. I want people to live the life they want to live, without fear or favour.

But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t matter. Sex has biological consequences – that’s a scientific fact.

If you’re born a male and you go through puberty as a male, your body develops natural physical advantages over a woman’s. That makes you stronger and faster than women.

THE progress of male puberty is irreversible and will obviously have a direct impact on a person’s athletic performance. Why else has the world watched this year as a transgender female swimmer moved from a mid-500s ranking when competing as a man among Ivy League swimmers, to becoming a top-ranked woman, leaving her competitors literally in her wake?

Some women have turned up to ‘competitive’ fixtures, only to have already lost them before the starting whistle. What’s competitive about that? Feminists have battled too hard and for too long to watch women be effectively frozen out of our own events.

Sports have tried to balance inclusivity with fairness. Instead, they’ve offset one against the other. And in a choice between inclusivity against fairness, as Culture Secretary I will always choose fairness. The Sports Councils are clear that ‘categorisation by sex remains the most useful and functional division relative to sporting performance’ and that ‘testosterone suppression is unlikely to guarantee fairness’.

NADINE DORRIES: If I’m forced to pick between inclusivity and fairness in sport, I will always choose fairness

So I’m setting a very clear line on this: Competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone. But unequivocally and unarguably someone born female.

I want all our sporting governing bodies to follow that policy.

The current situation can’t be good for trans women either. I can only imagine how demoralising it must be to spend hours and hours training, pursuing dreams of winning a medal – only to have their victory overshadowed by the predictable backlash.

But there are ways to ensure everyone has their opportunity in sport, and governing bodies must explore alternatives such as inclusive open categories.

That’s all I want: For young women and men, no matter what their personal journey, to be able to turn up on the day and feel like that maybe, just maybe, today could be the day they win that medal, because everyone has a fair and equal chance.

That, after all, is what competitive sport is all about. It’s why millions of people tune in to watch their favourite athletes battle it out on the court or the pitch or the pool.

Why would they watch if the result was almost certainly predetermined before the athletes have even entered the arena?

Source: Read Full Article