Transgender Inclusion Review Says Certain Sports Should Create Different Categories of Competition | UK News


A major review of the inclusion of trans athletes concluded that some sports should create different categories of competition to ensure a level playing field.

The Sports Council’s equality group said “differences in strength, endurance and physique” mean a new approach is needed in some sports.

“For many sports, the inclusion of transgender people, fairness and safety cannot coexist in a single competitive model,” the review said.

The advice concerns grassroots sport, mass participation up to national level, but not elite competition.

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The governing bodies of each sport must now determine whether they prioritize inclusion or “competitive fairness” within their sport.

The decision to “reset” the system has been welcomed by some activists, who have long called for the rights of women and girls to be recognized, as well as the rights of trans athletes to compete.

Dr Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play for Women, said the existing approach “is outdated and no longer fit for purpose”.

“This comprehensive review confirms what we all know: sex matters in sport. That’s why we’ve always needed a separate protected category for women, and still do,” he said. she declared.

“This direction puts an end to the idea that it is possible to allow people born male to enter the female sport category without women and girls paying the price.”

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The concept of creating different competition categories is new to the UK and is designed to ensure that everyone has the chance to compete.

The Sports Council’s proposals suggest that sports consider three options:

• They can prioritize the inclusion of transgender people

• They could create “open” and “female” competition categories

• They could add additional versions of their competitions

However, some trans athletes fear that increased controls on whether female competitors are declared female at birth could lead to a decrease in the number of people of different genders wishing to play sports – something the review authors said. that they wanted to avoid.

The report recognizes that different sports will require different ways of deciding how to balance the need to be inclusive with the need for fair and safe competition.

With ever-evolving scientific research and fierce public debate around the issue, sports governing bodies at all levels have struggled to find workable solutions.

Currently, most sports follow guidelines that allow trans women to compete in women’s sport if an athlete’s testosterone levels are below a certain level.

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This summer’s Olympics saw New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard become the first openly trans Olympian in an individual event.

Footballer Quinn became the first trans, non-binary Olympic champion after Canada won gold in the women’s football competition.

But the International Olympic Committee acknowledged this summer that its rules on this issue still need to be updated.

Sports governing bodies in the UK are now expected to digest Sports Council recommendations and strike a balance between fairness and their ambitions to be fully inclusive.

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A spokesperson for the trans charity and rights advocacy group Mermaids, said: “We are disappointed to read this review, which rather than focus on improving its existing guidance for trans people. in sport, once again ignores the lived experiences of trans people and misinterprets Equality Act and academic literature.

“This report will have ramifications for trans people in the sports community, and only seeks to provoke unnecessary hostility, exclusion and confusion for those who wish to participate in sports.

“It is important to remember that the SCEG report is only indicative: it is not mandatory. Sports groups and organizations have the right and are encouraged to draft and implement their own policies on sports. inclusion of trans and non-binary people in sport. “

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