Women are “going to get hurt” if they are forced to compete with former men, a government spokesman has said
New Zealand will cut off funding to sporting organizations that allow transgender women to compete against biological women, a government spokesman has said. At least one sports body has already vowed to resist the policy.
Allowing trans women to compete in female sports “compromises fairness in competitions and in some cases safety as well,” Andy Foster, a spokesman for the New Zealand First party told reporters on Wednesday. Foster added that a new policy agreement between his group and its coalition partner, the National Party, would “ensure publicly funded sporting bodies support fair competition that is not compromised by rules relating to gender.”
While several international sporting bodies have already barred transgender women from competing against female-born rivals, the government’s rules will apply to youth and amateur competitions.
“With rugby, athletics, boxing, you can see why power, weight and speed become a real issue,” he explained. “If there’s a teenage girl against a former teenage boy, your child is going to get hurt.”
Foster said that the new rules will be unveiled some time before the government’s sport and recreation agency distributes NZ$9.3 million ($5.82 million) in funding next year. Organizations that refuse to bar biological men from female competitions will not receive any of this funding, he said.
“If [an organization] says, ‘We don’t want to do that’, that’s their choice but they shouldn’t then expect the taxpayer to say ‘we’re delighted to support you doing something which we see as unsafe and unfair’,” he continued.
Studies have shown that transgender women retain an athletic advantage over biological women even after two years of taking female hormones. Until recently, international sporting organizations have typically required transgender women to prove that their testosterone levels fall within the normal range for adult women before being cleared to compete, but many – including World Athletics and the International Cycling Union – have since imposed blanket bans.
Low testosterone levels are not enough to “completely eliminate the benefits of testosterone during puberty in men,” the International Cycling Union said earlier this year, adding that transgender women enjoy “biomechanical advantages” due to their male bone structure.
Among the transgender women who have dominated their female competitors are New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – who went from an amateur weightlifter with scores below international standards to an Olympic athlete after transitioning – and Anne Andres, a Canadian weightlifter who smashed the women’s world record when she lifted a combined 200kg more than her nearest female opponent at a Canadian Powerlifting Union championship this August.
Despite the threat of losing its funding, New Zealand Cricket has said it will “continue to prioritize inclusivity and accommodate transwomen in women’s cricket,” while Sport New Zealand announced on Thursday it will advise individual organizations to decide for themselves whether to allow transgender competitors.
December 21, 2023 at 07:31PM