Aussie senator leads calls to ban transgender girls from playing with women in local sports compositions
An Australian senator calls for a ban on transgender women from participating in women’s sports at all levels.
Federal Liberal Senator Claire Chandler alleged that sex discrimination laws were “armed” to harass community sports organizations.
She plans to introduce a private member’s bill in parliament that would “protect sex sport for Australian women and girls as a fundamental good of our society”.
Senator Chandler wants to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to reintroduce the biological sex-based definitions of “man” and “woman” that were scrapped from the law by the previous Labor government.
Liberal Senator Claire Chandler (pictured) is working on a bill to ensure sports codes and local clubs are not subject to legal action for having women’s only teams
“Sports codes, clubs and volunteers can take legal action against them for offering women’s same-sex sports,” she explains.
Tasmanian, 31, said that single-sex sport for women and girls “should not only be legal, but should be celebrated, promoted and encouraged at every level of sport”.
Her push comes in the wake of recent controversies — both local and international — from transgender athletes competing in women’s sports competitions.
Northern Beaches Mermaids BG Volleyball Association in September raised concerns about ‘self-identifying’ women in their league, saying they had an unfair advantage and should continue to play in existing ‘mixed’ leagues.
In the same month, the Queensland Suns under-17 all-male netball team took a convincing win in the Queensland state netball titles against female teams.
Overseas, Jordan and Iran were at odds this month after claims that Iran deployed a transgender goalkeeper to win a pivotal international women’s match.
Senator Chandler (pictured with her husband) said women’s sport was at risk of being eroded by current laws ignoring biological differences
Iranian goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei saved two goals in a penalty shootout, resulting in a 4-2 win over Jordan to qualify for the Women’s Asia Cup.
Jordan demanded a “gender verification check” on Koudaei, but Iran said all players underwent “hormone tests” “to avoid problems”.
Under Senator Chandler’s proposal, transgender people would not be barred from playing sports, but individual clubs and sports leagues should provide options for both same-sex teams and teams with trans players at all levels of sport, which “supports participation for all.”
Current laws may subject sports clubs to legal action for offering same-sex sports to women, with Labor introducing a provision for transgender athletes when it changed the Sexual Discrimination Act.
Senator Chandler said the law was being used “as a weapon” to pressure sports organizations to operate on the basis of “self-affirmed gender identity” and her bill aimed to protect women’s sports.
“Nobody, whether it’s our biggest national sporting codes or a volunteer at the local football club, is going to be breaking the Commonwealth of Nations by offering women’s same-sex sports,” she said.
Iran’s women’s national football team has been accused by rivals Jordan of playing a man as a goalkeeper (Photo: Iran goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei) during an Asian Cup qualifier
Senator Chandler said current laws are complicated and need to be simplified so that all levels of sport were clear about what the rules are.
“Sports clubs and codes should not hire teams of lawyers, doctors and sports scientists to prove that they can keep their women’s sports leagues and same-sex teams,” she said.
Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes went one step further, saying women’s sport was in danger of being “cancelled.”
“It’s a complex issue, but we can’t deny that women have certain biological traits and have trained very hard to compete,” she told Sky News.
“A lot of those taking part are pre-operative, so it’s still men who identify as women, but who haven’t gone through a complete hormonal change, so there’s huge problems here.”
The goalkeeper (photo) has also previously defended himself against Iranian media
The International Olympic Committee has relaxed its rules on transgender athletes this week.
The IOC has reversed its 2015 guideline that transgender women should be allowed to participate in women’s sports, provided their testosterone levels remain below a certain limit for at least 12 months before their first competition.
It said there was “no definitive answer” to whether testosterone provided a competitive advantage for trans and some intersex women and that its impact on success varied from sport to sport.
The decision – part of a new framework to be implemented after the Beijing Winter Games – was widely welcomed by LGBT+ and human rights advocates as a step towards greater inclusiveness.
But some scientists said it was “unreasonable” to make tough decisions about whether trans and intersex women had an unfair advantage over sports federations, confusing an already controversial issue.