Transgender woman Hannah Mouncey (right) played women’s AFL
A Liberal senator has criticised US President Joe Biden for making it easier for transgender women to play female sport – and warned against a similar push in Australia.
On his first day in office President Biden signed an executive order to combat gender identity discrimination and last week the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act to increase protections for transgender people.
But critics say the president’s policies will allow transgender women who were born male to enter protected spaces such as women’s shelters and women’s sporting competitions.
Senator Claire Chandler has been campaigning to keep transgender athletes out of women’s sport in Australia, fearing it makes competition unfair and unsafe because they are often bigger and stronger than biological females.
She told Daily Mail Australia the Biden administration showed a ‘lack of regard for women and girls in sport’ and warned against any move to copy his approach Down Under.
‘If we want women and girls to continue to participate and succeed in sports, Australia should take a clear stance that women’s sport is for females,’ she said.
‘Everyone should be encouraged and welcomed to play sport, but they should do so within their own sex category.
‘Too many people in leadership positions around the world are prepared to sacrifice fairness and safety in women’s sport to win favour with activists and trans lobby groups,’ she added.
President Biden also announced he was rescinding support given under the Trump administration for a lawsuit aimed at preventing transgender athletes from competing in girls’ high school sports.
The lawsuit was filed by Connecticut sprinters Alanna Smith, Selina Soule and Chelsea Mitchell who said they were robbed of medals by two formerly male competitors.
Alanna Smith (center) filed a lawsuit with fellow athletes Selina Soule (left) and Chelsea Mitchell (right). They say girls have ‘missed out’ on placing on awards podiums after competing against ‘biological males’ in Connecticut
Two US transgender sprinters, Terry Miller (in red) and Andraya Yearwood (far left), have frequently outperformed their cisgender competitors. The two seniors have combined to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017, according to a lawsuit. Pictured: The Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet in 2019
Daily Mail Editor-at-large Piers Morgan described allowing transgender people to play women’s sport as ‘utter madness’ that is creating a ‘new inequality and a new discrimination’ against biological women.
In October, World Rugby banned transgender players from the female game after research found they increase the risk of injuries by at least 20 per cent.
The previous month Tennis Australia, Rugby Australia and national federations for Australian Rules football, hockey, netball, water polo, Touch Football and university sports issued guidelines governing inclusion at grass-roots and community level.
Rugby Australia requires trans athletes to have a medical specialist complete a consent form that specifies that their ‘physical development, skill level and experience are appropriate’ for the full-contact sport.
Tennis Australia takes a much lighter touch, discouraging officials from questioning athletes about their transitioning or requesting medical examinations.
In 2019, Sport Australia issued pro-trans guidelines recommending that 16,000 sport clubs across the nation catagorise sport based on ‘gender identity’ not biological sex, meaning a person can chose whether to play men’s or women’s sport.
Senator Chandler said the guidelines ‘prioritise transgender inclusion over the health and safety of women’.
‘They pressure administrators into running sport on the basis of self-declared gender identity instead of biological sex. This undermines the purpose of women’s sport – to provide fair and safe competition for females, acknowledging that biological males have inherent advantages over females on the field,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This is particularly concerning in Australia as many of our popular codes are contact sports like rugby and AFL, where there is a clear and obvious injury risk if women are forced to play against biological males.’
Senator Chandler previously told Daily Mail Australia that women are scared to speak out in case they are branded transphobic.
President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 , signed on January 20, says: ‘Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports’
‘I think it’s disturbing that in the space of a few years we’ve gone from everybody accepting that women’s sport is for women to a situation where women are expected to accept that there might be biological males playing against them,’ she said.
‘And women are also expected to shut up about it if that concerns them and that is incredibly worrying to me.’
The Tasmanian senator said she has received ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of emails and phone calls from constituents concerned that women’s sport will be undermined.
The inclusion of transgender athletes in elite women’s sport has been intensely disputed in recent years.
Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who transitioned in her 30s, sparked controversy when she won a gold medal for New Zealand in women’s events at the Pacific Games in Samoa in July 2019.
She then won two gold medals at the Roma World Cup in January 2020.
Former Australian Olympic middle-distance runner Tamsyn Lewis spoke out on the issue last year, telling Sydney radio station 2GB: ‘There’s been a lot of people who are scared to come out and say anything because of political correctness.
Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (pictured) sparked controversy when she won a gold medal for New Zealand in women’s events at the Pacific Games in Samoa in July 2019
‘You don’t want to get to the point where we haven’t tackled this issue head on and in a respectful manner, that in 20 years time we’re seeing our kids grow up and compete in sports that they just actually can’t win.’
On the other hand, trans rights groups have said an outright ban is not the way to go.
When World Rugby considered its ban, LGBTQ athletic advocacy group Athlete Ally said: ‘We urge the World Rugby Working Group to draw from already existing inclusion policies developed by medical experts and designed to promote safety and fairness for all, such as the International Olympic Committee guidelines which have been in place for years without issue.
‘Trans women play sports for the same reason cisgender women do: for the love of the game, and the love of the lifelong community it brings. No one should be denied the lifesaving power of sport.’
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 toll of trying to meet the AFL’s standards to had proved ‘too great’.
The AFL released its Gender Diversity Policy demanded that players can prove their testosterone levels have been maintained below a threshold for at least two years.
If that standard is met, players who wish to enter the draft have to submit further data regarding their height, weight and other measures of aerobic capacity.
In 2018 trans woman Hannah Mouncey (number 6), who is 1.88metres tall and weighs 100kg, withdrew her nomination from the draft for the Australian Football League’s professional women’s competition
President Biden’s Executive Order 13988, signed on January 20, says: ‘Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.’
The White House said this would include having transgender women play on female teams.
The protections included in the US Equality Act would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.
The bill passed the House on February 25 by a vote of 224-206 with three Republicans joining Democrats in voting yes.