The increasing inclusion of trans-identified male athletes in women’s sports means it is “only a matter of time” before the podiums and the teams on the track and field are dominated by biological males despite trans women representing less than one percent of the population, said an Australian women’s group advocate.
Save Women’s Sports Australasia co-founder Katherine Deves told The Epoch Times that while trans athletes are being “touted” by the media as groundbreaking and trailblazing, the trans inclusion policy creates a “loophole that can now be exploited” by “opportunistic countries, sports teams and individual athletes.”
“We’re going to be seeing these ordinary blokes competing against the world’s most elite women,” Deves said, “There is no sort of measurements or tests to determine what someone’s gender identity is; it’s all based on a self-declaration.”
“We don’t want to see our little girls training their hearts out making the sacrifices… And all of a sudden, you have a boy that just decides to declare that he’s a girl come in and take the space.”
Deves’s view is commonly shared among female athletes according to research published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport in June, which stated that 79 percent of female Olympians believed trans women athletes setting female world records is likely to increase.
Further, 78 percent said the International Olympics Committee (IOC) did not have “proper consultations” with female athletes about its transgender guidelines.
During the Tokyo Games 2020, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, the first trans woman to participate in the Olympics’ female category, has been accused by women’s groups and Australian Senator Claire Chandler of taking the spot of Roviel Detenamo, an 18-year-old female weightlifter from the island nation of Nauru.
The trans-inclusive policy also fuelled a conflict recently between Iran and Jordan over a women’s soccer match, with Jordan accusing Iran of fielding a male goalkeeper to win a critical game. Transgender goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei saved two penalties, ensuring Iran’s qualification for the Women’s Asia Cup for the first time.
However, transgender advocates and child psychiatrist at Stanford University, Jack Turban doubts that the inclusion of trans women will push out biological females because there are cases where “cisgender girls can win” when competing with transgender girls.
“There is no epidemic of transgender girls dominating female sports,” Turban wrote in Scientific American on March, 2021, “Attempts to force transgender girls to play on the boys’ teams are unconscionable attacks on already marginalized transgender children.”
The argument was echoed by LGBTQIA+ groups, which said a person’s genetic make-up and bodily autonomy “are not useful indicators” of athletic performance, and that “trans people are exactly who we say we are.”
“When a person does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, they must be able to transition socially—and that includes participating in sports consistent with their gender identity,” said LGBTQIA+ group American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a commentary.
But Deves argued that while sports organisations and LGBTQIA+ groups might be “pretending that there are no differences between the two sexes,” the world sporting records for men and women as collated over the last few centuries tell a different story.
“The most elite men surpass the most elite women … The only sort of metrics that women perform better than men do are basically to do with things like balance and flexibility,” she continued, “There are 6,000 biological differences between men and women, 3,000 of which are observable.”
Deves believed it is “a false premise” to assume that trans people are marginalised as evidence shows “transgender lobby groups have huge influence and power” over the government and the media.
Meanwhile, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Chandler, who recently introduced a draft bill to protect single-sex sport for Australian women, told The Epoch Times “there is no reason at all that sporting administrators can’t both protect and celebrate women’s single-sex sport and be inclusive of trans people.”
“The female category exists for a reason,” she noted, “There is no human right to demand entry into something designed for the opposite sex.”
The previous federal Labor government replaced the sex-based definitions of “man” and “women” in the Sex Discrimination Act in 2013 with gender identity and created provisions that grant male-born athletes the right to take legal action if they are barred from the women’s category.
Last year, eight peak Australian sporting bodies, including Rugby Australia, AFL, and Netball Australia, released guidelines for the inclusion of transgender athletes, following the lead of Sport Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2019.