A major review by UK based Sports Council’s Equality Group has found that trans women have an unfair advantage in certain sports, even when testosterone levels are reduced.
“Long-term evidence indicates that males have numerous physical advantages in sport compared with females, and this is recognised in law…”, they said.
“Current research indicates that testosterone suppression does not negate this physical advantage over females and so cannot guarantee competitive fairness and/or safety.”
Finally, a peak sports body admits that “it isn't possible to guarantee safety and competitive fairness in some sports” when biological men compete against biological women. However, the council leaves it up to individual sporting sectors to decide whether to prioritise male inclusion in women’s sports over women’s fairness and safety, vice-versa, or to introduce “universal admission”.
“[Sports governing bodies] may choose to offer sport in which the female category is protected for reasons of competitive fairness and/or safety if they are gender affected. These sports would offer both a female category and an open category. Female entries would be required to declare themselves as recorded female at birth. An open category would be available for any competitor to enter.”
Alternatively, they argue that “...sports could come up with new formats, such as non-contact versions of team sports, that can be played safely and fairly by everyone.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t mandatory for sporting bodies to take the report findings into account and none of this officially applies to international or elite sporting bodies.
But this is a step in the right direction in the debate around transgender participation in sport and it will hopefully instigate change at the elite sporting level.
Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, said it was common sense.
“Women deserve a safe and fair playing field,” she said.
“The only way to achieve this is to keep biological males out of female categories.
“An open or unisex category is the best solution for transgender athletes.”