A BBC sports presenter has said that trans athletes would have an ‘unfair physical advantage’ in women’s sports.
Gabby Logan, a British television presenter and former rhythmic gymnast, also called on women’s sports to be ‘protected’.
Logan gave her support of a number of current and former female athletes who have spoken against allowing trans athletes to compete in women’s sports.
This includes tennis legend Martina Navratilova and former swimming champ Shannon Davies.
Long-distance runner Paula Radcliff also weighed into the debate surrounding trans representation in sports on Friday (29 March).
Radcliff said that while she supported trans athletes, they should not be allowed to compete in elite sports.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) March 29, 2019
‘I think we need to protect women’s sport’
In an interview with the Mirror, Logan praised Davies for her comments regarding trans athletes.
‘[She] has been very vocal, she’s been on a lot of TV shows and talked about it a lot on her social media,’ Logan said.
‘As with a lot of female athletes, she’s had a lot of abuse, a lot of criticism from the transgender community who are very upset that she has spoken out.
‘I think we need to protect women’s sport, that’s why I think it’s good what Sharron Davies is doing at the moment, in terms of talking about it.
‘We’re dealing with science here. This is not about attacking a community. It’s about saying: how can we make this a fair place for women to compete?’ Logan added.
Earlier this month, Davies had said that a number of fellow female athletes also felt there should be restrictions for trans athletes, though she claimed many were afraid to speak out.
‘Every single woman athlete I’ve spoken to, and I have spoken to many, all of my friends in international sports, understand and feel the same way as me,’ Davies told BBC Sport.
Navratilova has received considerable backlash for comments from trans rights supporters.
In February she tweeted that it was ‘unthinkable’ that trans athletes could compete in women’s competitions.
The tennis star, who has campaigned for gay rights for decades, was also dropped by athletics group, Athlete Ally. The group said Navratilova’s comments ‘perpetuate dangerous myths’ on trans issues.
‘Not elite sport’
Similar sentiments were echoed by Radcliff on BBC Five Live on Friday.
‘There are absolutely probably hundreds of transgenders who want to take part in sport for all of the other benefits that it brings,’ Radcliff said.
‘And all we’re saying is: ‘That’s fine, but not elite sport.’
Earlier this month Radcliff had also warned that there could be a ‘manipulation’ of the rules of top-level sports if rules for trans athletes were not tighttened.
Dr Racheal Mckinnon, a world champion cyclist and trans rights advocate, hit back at Radcliff’s comments.
Speaking to PinkNews, Mckinnon said: ‘Paula continues to ignore facts: trans women are legally female [and] trans women have been permitted to compete in Olympic-eligible sports since October 2003.
‘In the Olympic Games, since 2004, there have been over 52,000 Olympians and not a single trans person has ever qualified, let alone won a medal.
‘The very idea that we must ‘protect’ cis women’s—or ‘female’—sport from trans women, who are legally female, too, is an irrational fear of trans women, which is the dictionary definition of transphobia.’
Mickinnon also condemned Radcliff’s comments on BBC Breackfast, accusing the BBC of giving a platform to transphobia.
So being trans is a ‘choice’ eh? And thereby we don’t deserve access to our equal legal rights (in my case) as legally recognized women/female?
Shame on y’all. https://t.co/nfm52nqmR2
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) March 29, 2019
The debate surrounding trans athletes representation in sports has become increasingly polarising in recent years.
Critics have maintained that because some trans women have an advantage over cisgendered women because they have larger bodies.
However, medical tests have shown that this is not always the case, particularly in sports requiring speed and agility.
Additionally, experts have said that trans women who regularly take estrogen do not have an advantage.
Trans rights advocates have also pointed out how few trans world champions there are.
In 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began allowing athletes who are transitioning from male to female to participate without restriction.
IOC rules state that those transitioning must maintain their testosterone levels below a certain level for at least 12 months.