Sports Campaign

The Fair Play For Women sports campaign aims to raise public awareness of the impact of trans inclusion on the safety and fairness of female sports, both at the elite and grassroots level.

This is a controversial and sensitive topic often clouded by emotion and false information that urgently needs clear and authoritative scientific evidence and rational discussion to guide effective decision making.

Fair Play For Women is now the leading the way by speaking up on behalf of the female athletes who are unable to voice their concerns in public. We have a ground swell of athletes, sports scientists and coaches who support us and our aim is to facilitate the necessary expert review to inform best practice, rules and regulations.

We  act as the international hub for expert opinion on the law, policy and science. Here you can find the best scientific comment on this topic to support evidence-based policy design.

We are also producing a comprehensive range of policy guidance documents to assist sports governing bodies when developing their own trans participation policy.

Our articles:

Is it fair to allow transwomen to compete in female sport?

Sport may be a human right but the spirit of fair play must prevail

Open Letter to the International Olympic Committee by Ana Paula Henkel

FPFW interview on Woman’s Hour about transwomen competing in women’s sport

What are the biological sex differences between males and females?

USA Powerlifting stands up for facts and fairness and makes the female category for females only

Guidelines Supporting Single Sex Sport Policy Development

 

Recommended reading:

Short and accessible expert commentary by one of our collaborators, Dr Antonia Lee. An elite coach with degrees in science and sports medicine.

Of sport, sex and gender

Myonuclei: the male-to-female sporting advantage

The IOC’s transgender guidelines are unscientific and pose a serious risk to the health of both female and transgender athletes

Transgender sport: is it Ilhan Omar and not USA Powerlifting who is discriminatory and unscientific?

 

Strong arguments backed by hard data, by development biologist @Fondofbeetles.

Issues in Brief:

It is a well-established fact that after puberty male and female bodies are different and in general male bodies are larger and stronger than female bodies. In all the major physical sports we see at least a 10% performance difference between the sexes; in some sports it is as much as 30%. For this reason sport competition is separated into male and female sex categories. This is necessary to give female athletes fair and meaningful competition.  The difference between male and female bodies is also acknowledged in UK equality law with special exemptions to allow the exclusion of male-born people from female competitive sports to uphold fairness and safety.

Current IOC guidance states that male-born athletes who identify as transgender can compete in female competition if they lower their blood Testosterone levels to 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months before competition. Lowering T undoubtedly reduces performance in male-bodied athletes but the concept of basing eligibility criteria on T suppression alone is fundamentally flawed because it ignores the long-term, irreversible consequences during growth, maturation, development and training leading to, for example, differences in bio-mechanics and muscle memory. Combined, these important bio-mechanical and physiological differences result in significant performance advantages, post-transition. Put simply, once someone has been through a male puberty the performance advantage is locked in meaning that this person can never compete fairly against women. It is an uncomfortable reality to face, but the truth is that inclusion of a male-born trans person in female competition excludes female athletes from meaningful, safe and fair competition. Full inclusion is a worthy, but unachievable, aim due to the fundamental differences between male and female bodies. This presents the world of sport with a very difficult problem that so far has not been tackled properly.
Unfortunately, the IOC guidance has been used rather simplistically as the blue print for trans eligibility by most International Federations and National Governing Bodies. Indeed, the UK Sports Councils Equality Group also recommends a T suppression based policy to the UK NGBs. This means that many female athletes are now finding themselves losing places and positions to male-bodied transgender athletes and are too scared to raise concerns about fairness.

This has the potential to seriously undermine current efforts to get more women and girls to participate in sports. Unfair competition removes the fun and fairness of sport and the most likely consequence is that women and girls will lose motivation and simply stop playing. Self-exclusion from competitive sport means women and girls will miss out on the physical and mental health benefits of sport, and that our elite athletes of the future will be lost.

 

Examples of male-born transgender athletes taking women’s places and beating women. Laurel HubbardRachel McKinnonTerry Miller, Andraya YearwoodHannah MounceyFallon Fox.

Laurel Hubbard

Male-born transgender weight lifter Laurel Hubbard winning gold in the heavyweight FEMALE category at 2017 Australia Weightlifting Open. Favourite to win gold at 2018 Commonwealth Games but pulled out due to injury. Expected to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

 

Rachel McKinnon

Male-born transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon winning gold in FEMALE track cycling at 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships.

 

Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood

Male-born transgender runners Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood winning first and second place at the FEMALE 100m  sprint at the 2018 CIAC State Open track and field competition.

 

Hannah Mouncey

Male-born transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey playing in the WOMEN’S Australian national handball team in the 2018 Asian Women’s Handball Championship. Mouncey played 22 games with the Australian MEN’s national handball team before identifying as a woman in 2016.

 

Fallon Fox.

Male-born transgender athlete Fallon Fox beating Tammika Brents in just 3 mins a WOMEN’S mixed martial art fight, leaving her with a broken orbital bone & needing 7 staples in her head. 

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