Sensible sports guidelines in the UK

The Guardian reports:

Trans women retain physique, stamina and strength advantages when competing in female sport, even when they reduce their testosterone levels, new guidelines for transgender participation in national and grassroots sport published by the UK sports councils will say on Thursday.

The long-awaited report argues there is no magic solution which balances the inclusion of trans women in female sport while guaranteeing competitive fairness and safety. 

It will be different in different sports. Rugby could well make a different decision to say bowls.

The guidelines state that because males and females do not often play competitive sports against each other, many people do not appreciate the differences, particularly in team sports.

“However, an understanding of the gap between the two sexes can be recognised by results of practice matches between national senior women’s football teams against underage boys’ teams in recent years,” it says. “The national teams from Australia, USA and Brazil were beaten comprehensively (7-0, 5-2, 6-0 respectively) by club teams of 14- and 15-year-old boys.”

That’s staggering.

In reviewing the latest science, the guidelines say adult male athletes have on average a 10-12% performance advantage over female competitors in swimming and running events, and that increases to a 20% advantage in jumping events, and 35% greater performance in strength-based sports such as weightlifting for similar-sized athletes.

The best male weightlifter in the world can lift 223 kgs in a snatch. The best female weightlifter can lift 155 kgs.

Sports are also given three potential paths they might consider. They are prioritising transgender inclusion; protecting the female category by having open and “female-only” categories; establishing new formats by adapting rules to include non-contact versions of team sports so that everyone can play.

So each sport can choose which path is most appropriate for them.

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