Sports chiefs pave way for trans women born men to com­pete in fe­male events

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Glen Owen and James Heale

MEN who tran­si­tion to women could be al­lowed to com­pete in fe­male-only sport­ing events un­der new guide­lines be­ing drawn up by a pow­er­ful White­hall quango.

Doc­u­ments seen by The Mail on Sun­day re­veal that Sport Eng­land has of­fered up to £25,000 to con­sul­tants to re­write the com­pe­ti­tion rules for elite-level sport to take ac­count of trans­gen­der is­sues.

The project is be­ing over­seen by an LGBT ac­tivist who has pro­moted claims that women rais­ing con­cerns about trans poli­cies are ‘hate groups’.

The changes are likely to fuel con­cerns among sportswome­n and fem­i­nist cam­paign­ers that male-bod­ied com­peti­tors will be al­lowed to dom­i­nate women’s sports.

Al­low­ing male-born trans women to com­pete in fe­male sports is in­creas­ingly con­tro­ver­sial and has l ed l ead­ing f i gures i nclud­ing Olympians Shar­ron Davies and Da­ley Thomp­son to raise con­cerns about the pos­si­ble un­fair­ness of mak­ing women com­pete against larger, stronger trans women.

In sports such as rugby, there are also con­cerns that let­ting trans women com­pete in fe­male games could raise safety risks.

De­spite those con­cerns, Sport Eng­land is push­ing ahead with ef­forts to pres­sure sports clubs over trans in­clu­sion. The pow­er­ful quango helps con­trol fi­nan­cial sup­port for many grass­roots clubs and sport­ing bod­ies.

It is invit­ing ten­ders from con­sul­tancy firms to ‘ re­view and re­draft the Do­mes­tic Com­pe­ti­tion Guid­ance which is fo­cused on all do­mes­tic ( within the UK) sport com­pe­ti­tion, up to a level of in­ter­na­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion’.

The win­ners will also ‘pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive re­port on Trans In­clu­sion with Elite Per­for­mance Sport’. The doc­u­ment re­veals that be­fore the new com­pe­ti­tion guid­ance is in place, new pro-trans rules will tar­get grass­roots sport.

It says: ‘ Sport Eng­land is also re­leas­ing Trans­gen­der Fa­cil­ity In­clu­sion Guid­ance very soon that will tar­get grass­roots sport and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity par­tic­i­pa­tion, so the Do­mes­tic Com­pe­ti­tion Guid­ance will be­come part of a suite of re­sources to sup­port providers of sport and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity to be more in­clu­sive of trans­gen­der and non-bi­nary peo­ple.’ A Sport Eng­land source told The Mail on Sun­day: ‘The doc­u­ment will pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture of poli­cies on trans­gen­der in­clu­sion from do­mes­tic through to elite com­pe­ti­tion.’

Last night, Tory MP Tom Hunt warned: ‘I agree with equality, but not if by pur­su­ing the equality agenda too ag­gres­sively you un­der­mine sport­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Where some­one born a male but iden­ti­fies in their own mind as fe­male and still has male char­ac­ter­is­tics such as greater strength, that could un­der­mine a sport. I would be con­cerned about that.’

The project is be­ing over­seen by Labour Party mem­ber Jamie Hooper. Last month, he used his Twit­ter ac­count – which clearly iden­ti­fies him as an of­fi­cial of Sport Eng­land, a pub­lic body – to pro­mote the Labour Trans Rights pledge card, which calls fem­i­nists ‘hate groups’ and de­mands their re­moval from the party. The same ac­count also dis­plays the slo­gan ‘LGB with T – not a de­bate’, a ref­er­ence to the de­mands of some gay rights cam­paign­ers for groups such as Stonewall to disassocia­te them­selves from con­tro­ver­sial trans ac­tivists.

Mr Hooper, 29, has pre­vi­ously worked at Swim Eng­land, which was forced in 2018 to axe of­fi­cial guid­ance en­cour­ag­ing trans­gen­der peo­ple to use swim­ming pools af­ter crit­i­cism it was ‘sin­is­ter’ and ‘dan­ger­ous to women’.

‘I agree with equality but this wor­ries me’

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