UK Culture Secretary Calls for Ban of Transgender Athletes in Female Sports

Canadian cyclist Rachel McKinnon (L) prepares to race against Australian Amber Walsh (2nd
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The leaders of sporting bodies should collectively come together and ban transgender athletes from competing in top-level female sports events, the British government’s culture secretary urged this week.

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has argued that biologically male transgender athletes have an “indisputable edge” over their female counterparts and therefore, sports organisations should ban transgender participation.

“This week I called together representatives from key sporting organisations, like the England and Wales Cricket Board and Football Association, to encourage them to follow the lead of other sports in not allowing trans athletes to compete against women at the elite level,” Frazer wrote in the Daily Mail. She criticised sports leaders for failing to implement government guidance mandating them to consider fairness and safety in such judgements.

“Sporting bodies have a duty to women competing in sport to set out clear guidance and take an unambiguous position,” the culture secretary argued.

“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 encourage the young girls who dream of one day being elite sportswomen.”

Frazer argued that sports bodies could implement an “open” category for transgender athletes, so that the “female” category could be exclusively for women, thereby ensuring that “everyone can take part and nobody experiences an unfair advantage.”

Last month, a survey from the BBC found that over 100 top British sportswomen were not in favour of completing against transgender athletes, yet they were too afraid to speak out publicly for fear of being labelled as prejudiced, with others expressing fear of losing their job if they challenged transgender ideology.

Demonstrating the taboo around the subject, the BBC reported that its survey was sent out to 615 athletes in 28 sports, yet just 143 responded to the study.

The comments from Frazer came after the publication of the long-awaited Cass report, which found that so-called transgender medicine was built on “shaky ground” and that there was a lack of evidence to justify placing children on life-altering puberty-blocking drugs and hormones.

Frazer said: “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,” adding that the issue of protecting female sports is becoming “more pressing with each passing week. ”

The culture secretary pointed to cycling and running, both of which have barred transgender athletes from taking part in female competitions, as instances of “positive progress” on the issue, but said that there needs to be a culture-wide agreement on the matter.

“We must get back to giving women a level playing field to compete. We need to give women a sporting chance,” she said.

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