‘Slap in the Face’: Famed Transgender Golfer Supports Banning Males from Women’s Sports

Mianne Bagger
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Transgender golfer Mianne Bagger, a man living as a woman who made history by competing in the Women’s Australian Open after transitioning in 1995, says it’s “utter rubbish” that “male-bodied” transgender athletes are being allowed to compete alongside women in professional sports.

Speaking with News.com.au, Bagger expressed support for a bill in Australia that will effectively ban men from competing alongside women even though it runs counter to his own career choices. While Bagger does not support the total elimination of transgender athletes from women’s sports, he argues that severe restrictions need to be implemented.

“There is a real impact of transition which does reduce strength and performance, although this does take a reasonable period of time,” Bagger said.

“Male-bodied people presenting as women, who live as women, with varying degrees of medical intervention and in some degrees, no medical intervention, which is just — it’s crossed the line, in my view, it really has … It’s a slap in the face to women,” Bagger added.

Bagger further noted that transgender athletes in competitive sports dramatically differ from transgender people in everyday life.

Lia Thomas

Transgender UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

“In everyday society, of course, we want an inclusive, egalitarian [society]. We want equality, lack of discrimination, and of course every single person should have equal access to life and services and work in society. Of course, we all want that, and so do I,” said Bagger.

“Sport is about physical ability. It’s not just about discrimination, it’s not just about equality and equal access. It is a physical ability. Now, if you’ve got one group — males — that are on average stronger, taller, faster, as opposed to women, there has to be a divide. There has to be a division,” Bagger added.

Bagger singled out the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for derision after it amended its trans-inclusion policy to say that gender transition surgery would no longer be required for athletes and that testosterone suppression would be lowered from two years to just one.

“Anyone with any basic understanding on biology and the difference between men and women knows it’s ridiculous. It’s male puberty that really grants boys and men that physical performance in sport,” said Bagger.

“And I think it’s irrefutable — it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”

Bagger’s eyebrow-raising stance against transgender athletes in women’s sports follows a lengthy op-ed from British cyclist Nicole Cooke arguing for transgender athletes to have their own category of competition separate from women’s sports.

“Sport is about competition among equals. Boxing has weight limits because there would be no contest putting a nine-stone man up against the largest man on the planet,” wrote Cooke. “Women’s sport is segregated because, in many disciplines, the larger average form of the male body confers an advantage.”

Cooke’s recommendation followed that of tennis icon Martina Navratilova, who said there should be “an open category for everyone, and then for biological females.”

“So trans women can compete, but they’ll compete against men. And trans men have a choice,” she said.


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