43 Kiwi Olympians challenge transgender sports guidelines

Newstalk ZB reports:

A group of former Olympians and elite New Zealand athletes are challenging Government guidelines on transgender people playing in sport and calling for wider consultation.

The guidelines focus on the principle of inclusion, and cite evidence around the barriers New Zealand’s roughly 50,000 trans and non-binary people face in playing sport and the associated severe mental health impacts.

But this has irked a group of some of New Zealand’s most successful sportspeople, 43 of whom penned an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Sport Grant Robertson citing concerns around “fairness and safety in all sport” arguing the guidelines ignored the rights of female athletes.

Among those concerned were former Olympians Barbara Kendall, Lorraine Moller and Dean Kent, former Olympic Chef de Mission and Emeritus Professor David Gerrard, and New York marathon winner Alison Roe, and All Black Jeff Wilson.

While the guidelines were developed in consultation with the trans community and a wide range of experts and affected groups, including Save Women’s Sport Australasia which supports the open letter, the group want a wider consultation process involving all sports bodies.

“The existing process has not engaged meaningfully with key sporting organisations, clubs and their stakeholders,” Gerrard said.

Dave Gerrard was my doctor at Otago Uni and also a very well respected sports medicine specialist.

The issue of trans participation in sports is difficult as there are competing rights – the rights of trans athletes to compete with their identified gender and the rights of biological women to only compete against other biological women.

Being a biological male gives strength and speed advantages that are huge. It’s not that the top 10 men or even top 100 men can all beat the top women. Here’s some data you may not know:

  • In 2018 alone, 275 school boys ran 400 metres faster than the world record for women
  • In comparing times and distances for the 2016 US school champs for boys vs the 2016 Olympics for women, schoolboys beat the gold medalist in 23 out of 24 track and field events.
  •  Females, on average, have just 52% of the upper-body strength and 66% of the lower-body strength of males.  Women have 45% less muscle tissue in their biceps, 41% less muscle in their elbow flexors, 30% less in their thighs, and 25% less in their knees. On average, women’s VO2max is about 20% lower than men’s.
  • In 2017 over 15,000 men and boys ran faster than the women’s world record for 100 and 400 metres.
  • A comparison in 2017 of faster schoolboys vs fastest women found boys winning the 400 metres by a huge four seconds, 1500 metres by 19 seconds and 5,000 metres by 83 seconds.

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