Fair Play For Women Report Highlights Harm To Females Forced To Face Males In 35 Sports
Fair Play for Women has issued a comprehensive report that highlights widespread harm in 35 sports caused by policies that allow transwomen – males who identify as women – to compete in female sport in the name of ‘inclusion’.
The UK-based group campaigning for female rights to be enforced, calls on regulators to restricting the women’s category to those born female, want local authorities and sports facility operators to ensure women’s spaces exclude males “however they identify”, urge schools and clubs to “maintain single-sex sports provisions so that girls can compete with girls, and demand that all state and other funding bodies make “female-only provision a condition of funding”.
The impact of allowing males into female sport is being felt “from juniors to masters and at all levels from grassroots to national and international levels”, says Fair Play.
The aim of its report is to give “a voice to women and girls who have had their legitimate concerns disregarded, been intimidated and silenced. Their stories debunk the comforting myths which support this unfair policy.“
The problem is global, the group states but its report highlights the issues through the prism of “first-hand reports from 35 sports and we are highlighting some of these personal testimonies, most published here for the first time.”
Under a banner headline “THE STATE OF PLAY“, the report notes that female-only sport is “essential for fairness, safety and participation” and yet “most sports are not protecting their female category“.
On September 30, 2021, the UK Sports Councils Equality Group (SCEG) published revised transgender inclusion guidance for sport governing bodies. As notes in Unfair Play, the book co-authored by Sharron Davies and this writer, it was developed by independent consultants with expertise in sports medicine after a rigorous consultation and review process.
“The scientific evidence is crystal clear,” says Fair Play for Women, namely:
Allowing males to participate in the female sport category is not compatible with fairness for females.
Says Fair Play: “One male does not simply replace one female in women’s sport. There is a multiplier affect. There are hundreds of males taking part in women’s sport, affecting tens of thousands of women and girls.”
Its comprehensive report shows how so-called ‘trans inclusion’ is directly leading to the exclusion of women and girls from sport. It highlights six key areas of harm:
1. Unfair competition and demoralisation;
2. Losing out on records, rankings or on opportunities to participate; 3. No consent or coerced into a mixed-sex environment;
4. The chilling climate of intimidation, fear and silencing;
5. Loss of privacy and dignity;
6. Risking women’s and girls’ physical safety.
Fair Play for Women notes that “no-one is measuring the impact” of allowing biological males into female sport, which is harmful at all levels, from girls who lose opportunities that trigger their departure from sport at a young age through club sport and on to elite sport and the post-elite/older-participant realm of masters.
The harm is exacerbated and tolerated by federations insisting on inclusion policies that actually exclude females from women’s sport by making the sports environment too toxic for them. Among examples cited by Fair Play:
“All Participants should be referred to as the gender that they inform you they are” – (British Cycling)
“You must therefore accept them in the gender they present” – (Lawn Tennis Association)
The report provides examples from the six areas of harm seen across a wide spectrum of sports. Here are some from a few sports, including swimming, – a sport is which the global regulator was the first of the premium Olympic sports to ring-fenced the women’s category from inclusion of any athlete who has experienced male puberty but does not govern what happens at domestic level beyond international waters:
SWIMMING: Prior to a recent policy change, a parent reported to Swim England that: “At the Swim England East Region Short Course Championships there appeared to be an age 14 biological male competing in the girls’ events.” This was very demoralising for the teenage girls racing in the same category and below. They felt they did not have a fair shot.
TENNIS: A junior girl at county standard lost a final to a player that she and her father both thought was male. They felt they could not say anything, but they felt it was unfair even though the LTA rules allow it. The girls in every round all lost out to a male.
LACROSSE: “I have seen first-hand county girls teams that have included teenage boys meaning that a girl has not been selected.” A parent described a senior National Lacrosse weekend tournament in which a trans-identifying male was playing in a girls’ team for 16-18 year olds. “I was just surprised and concerned that a biological boy would be allowed to play in this age group given possible physical advantages.”
JUDO: “The Sensei at the judo club started the session by saying, “I’ve organised today so that us ladies can have a day where we all just practice with other ladies”. The elephant in the room, of course, was the 6ft transgender female waiting to throw all the women around like rag dolls. How do I deal with this if it gets to competition stage? My eleven-year-old daughter works tirelessly to train both at home and at club. It seems unfair that she then has to get on a mat with, without meaning to be disrespectful, what is, essentially a man with a bra. My daughter feels very deflated and I don’t know how to deal with it or what to say.”
CYCLING, ROAD RACING: “I’ve seen problems in cycling where those in women’s race teams have been pushed to welcome transwomen into the team…The girls on the team were told they had to be supportive and welcoming and there would be repercussions if they weren’t. They felt uncomfortable but could not say anything as women’s cycling is a precarious sport and riders can be quickly dropped from the team, lose any funded elements of their kit etc and not be put forward for races so they have to toe the line.”
ATHLETICS: “I have been personally negatively affected by being sent death threats and appalling abuse because I speak up in defence of fair and safe sport for females. I’ve lost work because I speak up. I’ve been scolded publicly by a young female runner for using the word ‘male’ about a male athlete.”
SWIMMING: “I swam competitively as a schoolgirl and swam for my university team. I live in Scotland and my local pool has got rid of the women’s changing room so now there’s one gender neutral changing room. But the doors don’t go all the way to the top and bottom. I feel so uncomfortable that I just don’t swim anymore. They did it for ‘inclusion’ but it has excluded me.”
ROWING: A university rower found she had to share changing rooms with a male who identifies as a woman. One said when it happened (sharing a communal women’s changing room) she was uncomfortable. Another woman was asked to share overnight accommodation with the trans- identifying male when the club went away to a regatta. Other female club members expressed discomfort privately but found it difficult to object.
SWIMMING: At the 2023 British national age groups championships, a trans-identifying male volunteer in his 60s reportedly walked through the girls changing rooms several times a session for six full days, even though it was possible to access the pool without going through the changing rooms. Parents had asked the event organisers to stop it every day whilst twelve-year-olds were struggling to get into tight race swimsuits to compete.
This journalist can confirm that it is not necessary to walk through an y changing room to access the poolside at the pool concerned.
JUDO: “My daughter was a world medallist. 10 years of dedicated training. I paid a lot of money for her to go on a three-day women’s judo course. Day 1: Sensei explained the reason for the course was that there are few women in judo in our county and it’s important they get competition-ready by fighting other women, as men are much stronger and employ a different technique. Nobody mentioned the 6ft, 16st transwoman on the course, who went on to immediately break the finger of one woman, dislocate the shoulder of another and throw my daughter around the mat like a terrier with a rat in its mouth. My daughter gave up judo that day.”
The comprehensive work includes the following insightful Myth Vs Reality Chart that sports federations might care to wake up to:
Fair Play for Women: MYTH VS REALITY
Related Fair Play for Women Links on the background to a saga that stems from the International Olympic Committee’s failure to show leadership on the issue of Fair Play and Equality in inherently sex-based sports that account for the vast majority of disciplines at the Games: