Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

UK culture secretary urges ban on transgender athletes competing in female-only events
Cycling Sport

UK culture secretary urges ban on transgender athletes competing in female-only events

The culture secretary has called for transgender athletes to be banned from competing in female-only events as she urged sporting officials to draw up fresh guidelines to clarify the rules governing gender identity.

Lucy Frazer wrote in the Mail that sports’ governing bodies needed to set out an “unambiguous position” on the issue, amid rows over trans athletes participating in female-only events including such as cycling, swimming and darts.

In the most forthright intervention yet by a government minister on the subject, Frazer wrote: “In competitive sport, biology matters. And where male strength, size and body shape gives athletes an indisputable edge, this should not be ignored.

“By protecting the female category, they can keep women’s competitive sport safe and fair and keep the dream alive for the young girls who dream of one day being elite sportswomen.

She added: “We must get back to giving women a level playing field to compete. We need to give women a sporting chance.”

Frazer met representatives on Monday from a range of sporting bodies, including football and cricket, to discuss the issue. She wrote in the Mail that some authorities were not going “far or fast enough” in implementing government guidance that says they should consider fairness and safety when deciding who can participate in female sports.

Cycling, swimming, rowing and athletics have all put rules in place to prevent trans athletes participating in female-only competitions. Cricket and footballing authorities have not done so but are reviewing their policies.

Trans athletes have sparked controversy in the past by competing at a high level in women’s sport.

The US swimmer Lia Thomas gained global recognition by becoming the first transgender athlete to win a college title, but has not competed since 2022 when World Aquatics introduced new rules in 2022 prohibiting anyone who has undergone male puberty from competing in women’s events. Thomas is now taking legal action to compete at the top level once more.

Meanwhile, the trans cyclist Emily Bridges says she is willing to go to court to overturn a ban by British Cycling on trans athletes from competing as women and competing instead in a separate “open” category.

Frazer’s intervention comes a week after a landmark review by the paediatrician Hilary Cass found that gender care for children was based on largely “shaky” medical evidence. Cass said the use of puberty blockers for children and adolescents was not backed up by sufficient data.

Frazer said in her piece: “Among the many lessons of the Cass Review, it has shown us that inaction and a failure to confront the issues at stake cannot be an option.

“The need for clear action from all sports becomes more pressing with each passing week.”

Source: theguardian.com