Nadine Dorries said it was ‘inherently unfair’ for woman to compete against someone who was born biologically male
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has told British sporting bodies they must follow swimming’s lead and ensure women’s sport is reserved “for people born of the female sex”.
Ms Dorries told representives from football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics and other sports on Tuesday afternoon that it was “inherently unfair” for woman to compete against someone who was born biologically male.
She urged the sporting bodies to follow to lead of Fina, who announced that athletes who had been through any part of male puberty would be barred from elite female competition.
Ms 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.”
In a tweet following the meeting she added that the issue was one “that has been ducked for too long” and “we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t have a direct impact on a person’s athletic performance”.
It comes just a day after Boris Johnson indicated he supported Fina’s bar on transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty from competing in women’s events.
However, the decision has prompted anger in the LGBT community, with Olympic gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley saying he is “furious” at Fina’s decision.
The 28-year-old, who came out as gay in 2013, told inews: “Like most queer people, anyone that’s told that they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on.
“It’s something I feel really strongly about. Giving trans people the chance to share their side.”
Mermaids, a charity for transgender children, said recent changes by Fina and other sporting bodies “effectively ban trans women from competing in international elite competitions”.
In an open letter on its website, the charity said: “We think a blanket exclusion is unfair, unfounded, discriminatory, and we’re calling on the UK’s four sporting bodies to oppose trans-exclusionary approaches, and support sporting bodies to start from a point of inclusion,
The ruling came after Lia Thomas became the first transgender swimmer to win a major US national college title in March. She will now be ineligible to compete in elite women’s events.