Two transgender British athletes are hoping to make history by attempting to qualify for women’s events at this year’s Olympic games in Rio, it has emerged.
Until this year, trans and intersex people were banned from competition under rules governing athletics, but the International Olympic Committee has adopted a new policy on ‘Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism’ which removes restrictions for trans men and loosens restrictions for trans women.
Delia Johnston of Trans In Sport said the British hopefuls had “transitioned long ago and have competed at a European championship for this country,” adding “their sports federations are aware of their gender history.”
Although the trans women mentioned in the reports haven’t been identified, or even qualified for Rio yet, religious lobby group (and apparent sporting experts) Christian Concern have already decided to wade into the matter to voice their opposition.
Why? Because Christian Concern are passionate about creating a “level playing field” in sport. Not, of course, because of anything nasty like unbridled prejudice and transphobia.
The group’s Chief Executive, Andrea Williams, has already hit out at the prospect, saying she’s just really concerned about keeping a “level playing field” in sporting events.
“Athletes are routinely tested for performance-enhancing drugs in an effort to prevent cheating. Yet the biological advantage of being born male is ignored as sporting committees aim to adapt to today’s societal norms,” she said in a statement.
“Those propagating these ideas argue that it is a human rights issue, yet there are many professions that require certain physical characteristics – optimal eyesight, or a certain build for jockeys or bodyguards, for example. The same concept should be applied here, as measuring testosterone levels will not guarantee fairness.”
In 2003, trans people had to have reassignment surgery, then at least two years of hormone therapy to partake in athletic sporting competition. However, recent changes have removed all restrictions for transmen taking part in men’s events, while transwomen will no longer require genital surgery, though they must have a low testosterone level.
This isn’t the first time Andrea Williams has spoken disparagingly about the LGBT community. Last month she appeared on Channel 5 News to criticise LGBT Diversity Week in schools, saying it was “indoctrinating” children.
Words: Darren Mew