Olympic Gold Medalist Calls for Transgenders to Be Banned from Women's Sports
Olympian Jane Flemming says trans athletes make sport unsafe for women
An Olympic gold medalist is calling for transgenders to be banned from competing in women's sports events, arguing that trans athletes are a danger to female competitors.
Australian Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jane Flemming has declared transgender athletes shouldn't be allowed to compete in women's sport on safety grounds because they have an unfair physical advantage.
The 55-year-old retired track and field champion has joined the debate on the controversial issue as several sporting codes, including rugby, face calls to restrict female sports to biological female competitors.
In Australia, for example, gender or gender identity-based discrimination is banned by The federal Sex Discrimination Act, however.
In recent years, a growing number of born-male athletes have been allowed to compete in female sports events because they "identify" as women, despite the physical and biological differences.
Flemming, who represented Australia at two Olympic games and three Commonwealth during the late 1980s and early 1990s, argues that transgender athletes' advantages pose a safety risk to female competitors.
"The difficulty is that for the human species that's been born biological male, if they go through puberty in particular, they have, absolutely, have some physiological advantages," she told the ABC's 7.30 program.
"Whether it is bone strength or extra capillarization or larger muscle bulk, but then there are other aspects of that as well, not only does that affect performance but there is a health or a danger aspect."
The issue of transgender athletes is so politically toxic Tasmanian Liberal senator Claire Chandler was labeled as "transphobic" after calling for transgender rugby players to be banned to "protect women's safety."
"Senator Chandler has made at least two speeches... trying to veil her transphobic views as faux-feminist values," she told the Australian Senate in late August.
"We know where Senator Chandler's getting her speeches from because she said in a speech to the senate 'I stand with JK Rowling and millions of women around the world who are determined to ensure our rights as women are not traded off in the name of diversity'."
Senator Chandler has previously told The Daily Mail that Rugby Australia needed to "look at the research that's within the report, adopt the findings and prioritize women's rugby being for women."
"Women's sport was invented for people of the female sex and any suggestion that it is somewhat provocative or controversial to articulate this view I think is pretty ludicrous," she said.
Under World Rugby rules, which echo Olympic guidelines, trans women can play in the women's game if they take drugs to lower their testosterone for at least 12 months.
Rugby Australia is facing growing calls to ban transgender women from the female game after scientists found it was potentially unsafe for them to play.
In 2018 Australian women's handball player Hannah Mouncey, a trans woman who is 1.88metres tall and weighs 100kg withdrew her nomination from the draft for the Australian Football League's professional women's competition.
She said the stress of trying to meet the AFL's standards was "too great."
The AFL released its Gender Diversity Policy, which governs the participation of "trans and non-binary people" in August 2018.
The policy demands that players can prove that their testosterone levels have been maintained below a threshold for at least two years.