Culture Secretary: ‘Trans players competing against women inherently unfair’

It is unfair for trans athletes to compete against biological women, the Culture Secretary has said.

Speaking to Sky News, Lucy Frazer MP urged sporting bodies to carefully consider the “inherent unfairness” of allowing biological men to participate in women’s sport.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made the comments in reference to the remit of a new football regulator under the Government’s Football Governance Bill.


Frazer told Sky News: “I think it’s very important that women are able to compete against women and there’s an inherent unfairness, that if you’re not biologically a woman, you have a competitive advantage.

“And I think a number of sports have looked at this very carefully and come to the decision that it’s not appropriate to have women competing against people who are not biologically women.

“We’ve seen that in rowing. We’ve seen that in swimming. And I would encourage other sporting bodies to look at that very carefully.”

When asked if the Government would encourage football to impose similar rules, she responded: “I would encourage competitive sport to consider this very carefully.”


Under Football Association (FA) rules, which are currently awaiting review, all U16’s “may play in a mixed team, or an U16 girls’ or boys’ team, regardless of their natal sex”.

However, transgender players may apply to the FA “for approval to play in their affirmed gender” in the adult game. They must also show their testosterone levels are “within natal female range for an appropriate length of time so as to minimise any potential advantage”.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Frazer has invited sporting bodies, including the FA, to a roundtable discussion on safeguarding women and girls in competitive sport, which she said “should be a primary consideration for governing bodies”.

In her letter of invitation she wrote: “Many sports have taken steps at the elite level to embed these principles in their guidance, but it’s also important that we come together to discuss how these policies are being implemented at the grassroots level.”

Fair competition

Last year, British Rowing announced that only biological women would be able to compete in “Women’s Category” competitions.

Under the new rules, only females “will be eligible to compete in competitions under British Rowing’s jurisdiction”.

Previously, men who identify as women were able to compete in the female category on the basis of testosterone levels.

And in 2022, FINA, the world governing body for swimming, banned men who have gone through puberty from competing in women’s events. Both British Rowing and FINA noted that their policy changes were based, in part, on fairness.

Also see:


Study indicates trans women outperform women in sport

Sporting Council: ‘Safety and fairness cannot co-exist with trans inclusion’

International sports bodies strengthen protections for women’s sport

RFU policy finally prioritises women’s safety

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