UK sporting bodies say that “fairness and safety cannot co-exist” in many sports if transgender athletes participate in women’s sport.
Following an 18-month review, the Sports Councils’ Equality Group (SCEG) has published ‘Guidance for Transgender Inclusion in Domestic Sport’, which states that binary sex categorisation “is and remains the most useful and functional division relative to sporting performance”.
It also found that testosterone suppression in sport “is unlikely to guarantee fairness” as there are “retained differences in strength, stamina and physique between the average woman” and the average biological male.
Women at risk
The SCEG – which is comprised of members from Sport England, Sport Scotland, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland and UK Sport – has not given clear advice to sporting governing bodies as to whether transgender athletes should be permitted to compete alongside women.
Instead it has advised that organisations should determine for themselves whether they prioritise fairness or transgender ‘equality’ in devising their own policies.
Stonewall’s Twitter account dismissed the concerns as “manufactured moral panic”.
But Dr Nicola Williams, of campaign group Fair Play For Women, said: “This comprehensive review confirms what we all know: sex matters in sport. That’s why we have always needed a separate protected category for females and still do.”
She added: “This guidance puts an end to the idea that it is possible to allow people, who were born male into the female sports category, without women and girls paying the price.”
Earlier this year, the Rugby Football Union was warned that its proposed transgender policy put women at risk by allowing men to play in the women’s game.
The draft policy was part of a review by the governing body for England and its consultation closed in May.