A former British Olympic gold-medallist has hit out at pressure to allow transgender athletes to compete against women.
Mary, now Lady Peters, who won gold in the women’s pentathlon in 1972, said men who identify as female cannot “compete on equal terms” with women.
She joins a growing list of athletes concerned that allowing men identifying as female to compete against women is unfair.
Peters said: “If a man becomes a woman they still have that testosterone in their body and it is not an equal playing field”.
She drew comparisons between the higher levels of testosterone present in biological men to the widespread use of testosterone injections by East Germany during the 1970s and 80s.
“it is not an equal playing field”
She recalled: “girls who were 100% women who faded from the sport when the femininity test came in. East German coaches were encouraging girls to take drugs because they wanted success.”
Her comments echo those of fellow British Olympians Sharron Davies and Dame Kelly Holmes who have expressed similar concerns.
Davies wrote in April: “A woman with female biology cannot compete, it’s a pointless unfair playing field”, adding: “The reason we have men & women’s races are because we are biologically different”.
Debbie Hayton, who was born male and underwent ‘sex change’ surgery as an adult, says people like himself still retain the characteristics of their birth sex, making their inclusion in women’s sports not just unfair, but potentially unsafe.
He said that men who transition “should compete against, and alongside, men in open competition”, adding: “let’s leave female sport to female people”.