Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he does not believe transgender women should compete in women’s sporting events, a view he called “sensible” but possibly “controversial”.
Transgender athletes competing in the sport have been in the news lately after transgender cyclist Emily Bridges was declared ineligible to compete in her first elite women’s race by cycling’s world governing body. Issues cited around the issue in general were inclusion, sporting fairness and safety.
Johnson was speaking on a range of issues, including the UK government’s approach to banning so-called conversion therapy, before tell Sky News“I don’t think biological men should compete in women’s sporting events. It might be a controversial thing to say, but it just makes sense to me.
“I also happen to think that women should have spaces – whether in hospitals, prisons or changing rooms – that are dedicated to them. That’s all my thinking has developed on this issue.
“If it puts me in conflict with others then we have to work it out. That’s not to say I’m not extremely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, transition and it’s vital that we give people maximum love and support in making these decisions.These are complex issues and cannot be solved with quick and easy legislation alone.It takes a lot of thought to get it right.
The most recent IOC guidelines – updated in November 2021 after the Tokyo Olympics – said it should not be assumed that a transgender athlete automatically had an unfair advantage in women’s events.
He recommended that individual sports under the Olympic umbrella – such as track and field, weightlifting, gymnastics and swimming – set their own rules regarding transgender athletes.
World Rugby has banned trans women from playing at elite level, while the domestic policy of the Rugby Football Union in England allows trans women to play, under certain testosterone-based conditions.