Petition backs female-only sports at Olympics, demands suspending transgender rules

Jesus Christ the Redeemer
Jesus Christ The Redeemer seen through Olympic Rings at Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, a rowing training session venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 2, 2016. |

A new petition is demanding the International Olympic Committee suspend their guidelines on transgender-identifying male athletes for the upcoming games in Tokyo next year.

Launched by the nonpartisan coalition Save Women's Sports, the effort is reasserting the primacy of women's rights, particularly as it pertains to competitive athletics. Males who present as female is fundamentally unfair, harmful and wrong, the group says. 

"The transgender eligibility guidelines created by the consensus meeting in 2015, which allows males who identify as females to enter women's categories, is unacceptable. Simply reducing testosterone levels for one year does not negate the male advantage over female athletes," the petition reads.

"Allowing male athletes to self-identify as female competitors is irresponsible, negligent, and dangerous. In adopting the 2015 transgender guidelines you have abandoned your duty to protect the safety and integrity of females and female sports. This amounts to blatant discrimination against women on the basis of sex. Males should not compete in female sports."

Beth Stelzer, the founder of Save Women's Sports, noted in an email to The Christian Post Tuesday the range of perspectives supporting the petition.

“Our coalition from around the world and throughout the political spectrum are raising the alarm and we expect to be heard. We are united together to fight for fairness and to protect the definition of woman. We will not be silenced and we will keep growing. You cannot stop the truth.”

Linda Blade, an Edmonton, Canada-based sports performance coach with a Ph.D. in kinesiology and a founding member of Save Women's Sports, also commented to CP Tuesday that the petition represents "a new beginning for women in sports globally and locally."

"Women require respect as much as men do,” she said.

Thus far, the SWS petition has been signed by an array of women's groups from around the world whose views span the spectrum. Signatories include organizations from the conservative Concerned Women for America to left-wing radical feminist groups like the Women's Liberation Front.

“Even if male athletes did not have a physiological advantage over female athletes (which they do), women and girls have an unconditional right to say no to men and boys in female-only spaces,” said Kara Dansky, a board member of the Women’s Liberation Front, in an email to CP Tuesday.

“WoLF is proud to co-sponsor this petition with Save Women’s Sports.”

Sharron Davies, a former competitive swimmer from the United Kingdom who won a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, has also signed the petition.

The petition has also been translated to Dutch, Spanish and French.

The official IOC transgender guidelines from 2015 state that it "is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not exuded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition," and notes that "gender identity" — a phrase used by transgender activists and their allies to describe how they identify as the opposite sex — is not legally recognized in some countries.

Requiring surgical alteration to the body as a precondition for participation in Olympic competition is not needed to preserve fairness, the guidelines say, and may not be consistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.

The guidelines also stipulate that male athletes who identify as female have to have identified as such for at least four years and have lowered testosterone levels for at least one year before the first competition, with compliance monitored through periodic testing.

Originally scheduled for this summer, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo had to be postponed until next year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Late last month, Idaho became the first state in the United States to adopt a law barring trans-identified males from participating in female sports at the high school and collegiate levels. The American Civil Liberties Union subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination. 

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