Singletrack World Response to Nadine Dorries’ Comments on Trans Athletes

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Singletrack World takes the position that Trans women are women, and cannot support the recent statements by the UK Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries. In the Mail on Sunday, she wrote that ‘competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone, but unequivocally and unarguably someone who was born female. I want all of our sporting bodies to follow that policy.’

This position has since been reiterated at a Westminster summit, from which the following statement has been released:

‘The Culture Secretary has urged leaders of the UK’s biggest sports to work to ‘raise their game’ and protect the integrity of elite and competitive women’s sport, at a Westminster summit on the inclusion of transgender athletes this afternoon (28 June). 

‘Nadine Dorries met with bosses of national governing bodies, and urged them to adopt the Government’s unequivocal view that elite and competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex.’

We understand that British Cycling was at the meeting, but will continue its ongoing policy review and will not issue any response at this time.

Singletrack World is concerned that this message to UK sporting bodies will result in exclusionary and prejudicial policies, and would urge British Cycling to set policies which allow Trans women – and men – to participate at all levels of sport.

Singletrack World supports inclusion, equality and diversity, not just when it comes to riding bikes, but in daily life. We are concerned that difficult and sensitive discussions about ‘fairness’ in elite sport are being used to enable a wider global political agenda of anti Trans rights, and are being used to promote transphobia. We encourage all our readers to reject any such rhetoric and help make our sport a welcoming and diverse space.  

We realise that this statement will likely prompt many questions, and we don’t believe we have all the answers. However, we cannot stand by and see a government minister give such direction to our national sports governing bodies without voicing our dissent. Trans women are women, Trans men are men, and sport is for all.

For reference, here is the full release from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport following yesterday’s meeting:

The Culture Secretary has urged leaders of the UK’s biggest sports to work to ‘raise their game’ and protect the integrity of elite and competitive women’s sport, at a Westminster summit on the inclusion of transgender athletes this afternoon (28 June). 

Nadine Dorries met with bosses of national governing bodies, and urged them to adopt the Government’s unequivocal view that elite and competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. 

Having listened to the challenges that sports are facing in implementing policies on transgender participation, the Culture Secretary emphasised that clear direction is needed that protects and shows compassion to all athletes, and encouraged sports to make progress with moving towards a position where fairness takes priority in competitive sport. This includes the consideration of launching inclusive open categories where appropriate. 

Governing bodies made clear that they are actively carrying out their own scientific research to establish the impact of athletes’ sex at birth and gender reassignment on athletic performance. UK Sport and Sport England will support the interpretation of the guidance published by the UK’s sports councils, and will coordinate the process of reporting back to Ministers on progress later in the summer. 

The Culture Secretary also encouraged governing bodies to engage with their international federations and encourage them to have consistent policies worldwide. 

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: 

“Sport is for everyone, no matter where you’ve come from in life. It allows people to come together and perform on a level playing field, based upon basic fairness and the integrity of competition.

“The government has the utmost compassion for people born into a body they don’t recognise. But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t have a direct impact on a person’s athletic performance. Asking women and teenage girls to compete against someone who was biologically born a male is inherently unfair.

“I recognise that this is a complex and emotionally charged issue, so I welcome the support of our domestic governing bodies to protect and show compassion to all athletes. In the interests of sporting integrity, we must bring clarity to protect the future interests of sport around the world.” 

Today’s summit follows guidance published by the UK’s sports councils in September 2021 which made clear that balancing transgender inclusion, safety and fairness where sex can have an impact on a result, is not always possible. In April 2022 British Cycling suspended their current transgender policy, pending a full review. 

Beyond the UK, last week the International Swimming Federation (FINA) voted to bar transgender athletes participating in women’s events if they have gone through the process of male puberty.

This policy was reached after its scientific panel found that trans women had a “relative performance advantage over biological females, even after medication to reduce testosterone”. Later in the week International Rugby League also suspended the participation of male-born transgender players from competing in international women’s matches while they conduct more research. 

Meanwhile international federations including World Athletics and FIFA have signalled they will review their transgender eligibility policies. 

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Viewing 40 posts - 241 through 280 (of 460 total)
  • Singletrack World Response to Nadine Dorries’ Comments on Trans Athletes
  • jim-the-saint
    Full Member

    I’m not convinced that sport is segregated to keep it competitive

    Podge why do you think sports are segregated then? In cycling it’s segregated by sex, age and competence, why do they do that?

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    With regards to your point about self-id I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Are you stating that because rule adherence can’t be tested at a grass-roots level that they shouldn’t be tested at an elite level?

    No, I believe the point being made is that trans-women are participating at grass roots level, sometimes without having taken or completed gender affirming treatment and that some people believe that isn’t right, including otherwise inclusive members of the LGB community.

    I see both sides, particularly if it’s for the point of either pot-hunting or other more sinister reasons, but I favour as much inclusion as possible for the health and mental benefits of sport for those that want to participate ‘even if’ they are trans.

    Rainper will I am sure speak for themselves, but is more on the side of safe spaces and environments for cis-women, which I also support, but that’s not the same as saying I support cis-gender sport only.

    rainper
    Free Member

    I think it’s a bit disingenuous of you though to link junior and grass roots sport together.

    I wasn’t being disingenuous. Is junior not an appropriate term to cover both, girl’s school sports and Saturday morning girl’s football?
    I only mentioned self id as your said you knew very little about this subject.

    rainper
    Free Member

    I hope this article will be read with an option mind. I know some will try to discredit the organisation Fair Play for Women.

    This article details a few examples where ‘inclusion’ has lead to exclusion of women in their own groups. This is just one example:
    “At a street stall in Ayr, a mother of a 13-year-old girl told me her daughter had lost her place as a goalkeeper on a girls’ football team to a boy. That wee girl is now sitting at home wondering why adults are telling her to deny the reality of what she can see – a boy has taken her place in the team.”
    https://fairplayforwomen.com/transgender-inclusion-is-already-harming-uk-females-in-sport/

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    There’s some segregation by competence in many sports, but the gender thing is more of a decision that women deserve their own competition as a protected group. Otherwise the strongest women would be generally competing in with the decent (but not quite top) men. Same is true for age categories also. The fastest veterans are certainly stronger than low-ranking seniors. That is to say, gender and age segregation is explicitly for reasons other than just competence/ability.

    (I know that sometimes multiple cycling categories cats ride together, just as multiple gender and age groups run together in road races, but they generally have their individual prizes etc.)

    mashr
    Full Member

    Interesting the Rainper only every seems to post on a certain type of thread. A poster to be ignored.

    jim-the-saint
    Full Member

    rainper – In mountain biking Junior is a category for racers who are 17 to 18 years old. The best riders in this category will be heavily sponsored and remunerated for their efforts and tested for rule adherence.
    I now get the point you were making though. We can all make grammatical errors 😉

    I can understand people getting upset if rules are broken but at a grass-roots level they can’t afford to test them.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    “At a street stall in Ayr, a mother of a 13-year-old girl told me…”

    Is it time for painful anecdotes? Every trans adult and child I know has been turned away from being involved in any sport whatsoever. Starting at school. It has been made clear to them all along that they just aren’t welcome. Most then shy away from any exercise where they will come into contact with others for the rest of their lives (so far). As someone for whom sport was absolutely essential for my wellbeing when I was younger, and for whom exercise still keeps my head and body mostly off of dangerous paths… I hate to think about all the positive benefits of soorts and exercise denied to most Trans people as they feel so excluded from it. I hope that mountain biking, and cycling in general, can be a path out of that negative spiral for many trans people… that it can be enjoyed without getting involved in competition and ranking has to go in its favour, doesn’t it? Let’s be as welcoming as we can be. I’d like that to go all the way up to Elite level… with tests, rules and safeguards in place… but if that ever ends up not being possible, let’s double our efforts to make people feel welcome at the, er, “lower” levels of our sport… especially for trans kids and teens who will be feeling so excluded as they try and plot out their lives.

    rainper
    Free Member

    jim-the-saint

    rainper – In mountain biking Junior is a category for racers who are 17 to 18 years old. The best riders in this category will be heavily sponsored and remunerated for their efforts and tested for rule adherence.
    I now get the point you were making though. We can all make grammatical errors 😉

    I can understand people getting upset if rules are broken but at a grass-roots level they can’t afford to test them.

    thanks for explaining that.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    just happened across a documentary on C4 currently on about April Ashley. It’s not about sport so this is very mission creep but informative nonetheless

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Ashley

    Kendo
    Full Member

    This announcement seems reasonable to me, (but I haven’t read the preceding 6 pages of comment):

    British Triathlon creates ‘open’ category for transgender athletes to compete at all levels

    stephen
    Full Member

    I can’t help feeling that puts a lie to the suggestions this is about fairness in sport.

    Trans women competing in the women’s category is unfair, but men competing against trans women is fine?

    Markie
    Full Member

    Trans women competing in the women’s category is unfair, but men competing against trans women is fine?

    Males compete against males, females against females. Seems fair and sensible to me.

    stephen
    Full Member

    I dunno whether to engage with that but its a nice illustration of the point. There’s a genuine and difficult question of how sporting competition can be made accessible to people of different physical ability. Then there’s a lot of people using that as a convenient platform to deny the existence of trans women.

    Markie
    Full Member

    Then there’s a lot of people using that as a convenient platform to deny the existence of trans women.

    Assuming this is in reference to me, I am in no way denying the existence of trans women. But trans women are not female and sport is segregated on the basis of sex, allowing women fair competition.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    But trans women are not female

    How many times does it need to be explained how offensive that statement is? There are more appropriate ways to express your point but you seem to be more keen to skirt the edge on a technicality than to moderate your language.

    Markie
    Full Member

    How many times does it need to be explained how offensive that statement is? There are more appropriate ways to express your point but you seem to be more keen to skirt the edge on a technicality than to moderate your language.

    I don’t believe this is a technicality. Sex is not the same as gender, and so this point is at the heart of the argument. In your view, what would be a more appropriate way to express it?

    To argue that trans women are not female does not deny the existence of trans women, or their validity, their right to exist as trans women.

    Arguing that trans women are female does deny the existence of females. Denying sex based differences removes any validity from the idea of sex based rights.

    ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    How many times does it need to be explained how offensive that statement is? There are more appropriate ways to express your point

    Can you suggest one that is both accurate and non-offensive? I think many folk are struggling with trying to use the right words and definitions.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    @markie Try just not repeating it. I know full well the difference between sex and gender and that’s exactly the technicality you’re skirting around. Say what you like to validate it but that’s exactly how it comes across and it’s not the first time you’ve been pulled up on it. Seen it all before.


    @scotroutes
    How about “trans women may/do* not present fair competition against biological females”. That’s opinionated without being offensive.

    *depending how you wish to frame your argument, personally I don’t give a shit about that bit if you choose to argue on facts rather than dog whistle terms.

    benos
    Free Member

    Using the terms which describe sex in a discussion where sex is the primary consideration is arguing “on facts”.

    I’m also not convinced your suggestion is workable anyway. I’ve seen “biological female/male/sex” described as dog whistle terms by ALCU lawyer Chase Strangio and Stonewall barrister Robin White, and transgender cyclist Veronica Ivy, who’s appeared on the BBC and US radio and TV, claims to be a biological female.

    It seems to me the aim of making certain terms taboo isn’t to prevent offence, but to prevent the discussion from happening at all.

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    The whole argument, when it comes to competitive sport, needs to be about what the science says. Until the science says trans women have no advantage in a particular sport, they should not be allowed to compete against women. In the meantime, by all means create an all-inclusive trans category for trans men and trans women.

    Markie
    Full Member

    There are more appropriate ways to express your point

    Try just not repeating it.

    Not repeating it is not a more appropriate way to express the point. Silence on this only works to erase women.

    I know full well the difference between sex and gender and that’s exactly the technicality you’re skirting around. Say what you like to validate it but that’s exactly how it comes across

    Again, the difference between sex and gender (or gender identity) is not a technicality. It is the point. The thread is about recognising the right of women to sex based spaces and competition.

    Until the science says trans women have no advantage in a particular sport, they should not be allowed to compete against women.

    I disagree, and hold it to be irrelevant.

    Sex is a reproductive category, and it is on this that we separate athletes. The space for trans athletes already exists and is with their biological sex.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    I disagree, and hold it to be irrelevant.

    Sex is a reproductive category, and it is on this that we separate athletes. The space for trans athletes already exists and is with their biological sex.

    And here we get to the crux of it.

    So regardless of loss of performance or anything else you still think its “fair” to make people exclusively compete as their birth genders because, well, sod science?

    Silence on this only works to erase women.

    Nobody is trying to erase women. You, on the other hand, seem quite happy to erase trans folk.

    Using the terms which describe sex in a discussion where sex is the primary consideration is arguing “on facts”.

    Well given they don’t seem interested in the science I don’t think you can claim that their argument is based on any sort of fact.

    It seems to me the aim of making certain terms taboo isn’t to prevent offence, but to prevent the discussion from happening at all.

    Besides the fact I gave an example of how you could make the exact same argument in inoffensive terms?

    Markie
    Full Member

    So regardless of loss of performance or anything else you still think its “fair” to make people exclusively compete as their birth genders because, well, sod science?

    The science you seem to be referring to is that it is possible for trans women to, through medical means, reduce their athletic potential. I don’t dispute this, but I do not believe that this makes it fair or reasonable for trans women to compete in women’s sport.

    Women should have the right to compete in a sex based category, not one based on gender identification, or medically limited potential performance, or testosterone levels, or bodily modifications.

    As regards ‘exclusively’, allowing women a sex based space in which to compete does not preclude the creation of other categories, such as open or trans.

    The argument ‘trans women are women’ seeks to erase women because it widens the category of women to include males. A category that was ‘adult human female’ becomes ‘adult human’. The female sex is erased.

    I do not wish to erase trans people. For the sake of women’s rights it is important to understand that trans women are male, but this does not deny the existence or validity of those males whose gender identity is different to their sex.

    benos
    Free Member

    Besides the fact I gave an example of how you could make the exact same argument in inoffensive terms?

    I disagee that the sexed terms are offensive, and the terms that you proposed are considered to either be offensive or to have entirely differnet meanings by high profile proponents of trans women inclusion in women’s sports.

    Well given they don’t seem interested in the science I don’t think you can claim that their argument is based on any sort of fact.

    I can’t speak for Markie, but I can add that performance reduction (which we should be clear is currently neither accurately quantifiable nor medically possible) is not by itself an argument for inclusion.

    For sake of example, let’s say that for a given sport we calculate male advantage as 12.47%, and scientists invent a pill or process that reduces male advance by that same 12.47%. It doesn’t automaticaly follow that any trans woman athlete or other male athlete with a 12.47% performance reduction should be eligible for female categories.

    Female sports categories exist now to facilitate fair and equal access to sport and competition in the context of male performance advantage (without that advantage, there would be no need for the separate categories).

    If male athletes with the hypothetical 12.47% performance reduction can complete in the female catgory, the effect would *still* be to take competition and podium spots from female athletes and give them to male athletes. In other words, we would still be discriminating against female athletes by giving them fewer opportunies than male athletes, and we would have simply removed the direct performance advantage aspect.

    It may be a reasonable decision, but it should be acknowledged as a different decision. Jumping from one to the other is an is-ought fallacy. The science is the ‘can’ and the ethics is the ‘should’

    Superficial
    Free Member

    I disagee that the sexed terms are offensive,

    Offence is taken, not given.

    You may not be in the best position to judge what terms are offensive, and that’s fine. But you could at least listen when people with more insight tell you things.

    If male athletes with the hypothetical 12.47% performance reduction can complete in the female catgory, the effect would *still* be to take competition and podium spots from female athletes and give them to male athletes.

    I see what you’re saying. But a lot of women’s sports have fewer entrants and issues with participation. I’ve seen bike races where there are only two finishers in certain categories. Presumably the avalanche of trans women you’re envisaging could also serve to improve women’s sport?

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    I spoke to a trans person earlier. He told me that when someone says to him ‘ you can identify as you like but in my eyes you’re still female’ a little bit of him dies inside.

    Are you OK with that? Collateral damage? Needs to grow a thicker skin?

    i_scoff_cake
    Free Member

    @theotherjonv

    I’m sympathetic but otoh it seems something of a tyranny that one unilaterally has the right to control how people address oneself.

    ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    Not so different from saying you don’t believe in someones god which has, over the years, been deemed perfectly acceptable. It’s the sort of thing that could be said in order to deliberately hurt it in which case I personally would avoid saying it, even though I might believe it to be true.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    So how should it be done? His own identity is surely one thing that should be respected. Your own choice on how you want to address him overrides that?

    You have a strange definition of tyranny.

    [edit] I’d say a right to a personal identity is the ultimate fundamental right. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but that’s why deadnaming and misgendering is to me the ultimate don’t do – particularly when done deliberately as some posters have done on here, either overtly or dogwhistley.

    benos
    Free Member

    I spoke to a trans person earlier. He told me that when someone says to him ‘ you can identify as you like but in my eyes you’re still female’ a little bit of him dies inside.

    Are you OK with that? Collateral damage? Needs to grow a thicker skin?

    I’m not sure if you were asking me, but my answer is no, not in personal interactions. It must be terrible for people who have gender dysphoria, and I make a distinction between personal interactions and social/political situations. I’d do what I could to help indivudual distress, which would include using preferred names and pronouns.

    At the same time we can’t pretend sex isn’t a major axis of discrimination in our society and stop talking about it beacuse it’s psychologically distressing for some. Other people will suffer as a result. Conflicting rights need to be be balanced, which is what much of our equality law seems to be about.

    It’s also worth noting that this isn’t just about peoeple with dysphoria. Many things would no doubt be simpler if it was, but it’s not the case.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Female sports categories exist now to facilitate fair and equal access to sport and competition in the context of male performance advantage

    I’ve avoided this thread so far but:

    Lots of women have a performance advantage over other women already, no? The classifying of sportspeople by gender is actually pretty shit anyway, when you think about it.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Maybe there should be a third category created in sport for trans.

    Or maybe just one category for all with a handicap system like the Paralympics.

    benos
    Free Member

    The classifying of sportspeople by gender is actually pretty shit anyway, when you think about it.

    Sex, and no. The performance difference between athletes of the same sex is very small, and the performance difference athletes of the opposite sex is very large.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    If sports authorities are going to chemically reduce a person’s testosterone levels to a set limit, then every other person partaking in that same sport should be able to boost their testosterone to the same limit.

    Only sounds fair.

    pondo
    Full Member

    Is supporting inclusion and diversity political?

    Markie
    Full Member

    The question of whether it is right to compel women to accept men into women’s spaces in the name of inclusion and diversity is very much a political (and social, and moral) issue.

    Mark Alker
    Full Member

    No one is asking women to accept men into their spaces though, or vice versa.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    The question of whether it is right to compel women to accept men into women’s spaces in the name of inclusion and diversity is very much a political (and social, and moral) issue.

    Is that (was it) the question?

    Two months ago this thread was about the issues surrounding inclusion/exclusion of Trans Athletes wanting to compete is categories based on their identified, as opposed to born/assigned, gender, And of course Mad Nad’s gibberings on the topic…

    I suppose if we’re going to resurrect threads, it’s worth at least skimming the preceding posts before you start parroting the “Wizarding TERF’s” ideas out of context…

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Well, I hope we can at least all agree it’s a good thing that Mad Nad’s now been replaced at DCMS.

    Obscurity hopefully beckons.

Viewing 40 posts - 241 through 280 (of 460 total)

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