UK Athletics wants open category for male and transgender athletes

UK Athletics wants open category for male and transgender athletes

UK Athletics wants a change in legislation to ensure the women’s category is lawfully reserved for competitors who are recorded female at birth.

The governing body says all transgender athletes should be allowed to compete with men in an open category.

Chair Ian Beattie said the governing body wanted athletics to be a “welcoming environment for all”; but added it had a responsibility to “ensure fairness” in women’s competition.

However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it was “disappointed” UKA chose to publicise “inaccurate advice”. It also questioned its interpretation of the Equality Act 2010.

UKA disagrees with the use of testosterone suppression for transgender women, saying there is “currently no scientifically robust independent research showing that all male performance advantage is eliminated”.

UKA added it has seen “no evidence that it is safe for transgender women to reduce their hormonal levels by testosterone suppression”; that there is “insufficient research to understand the effects on transgender women if such testosterone suppression is carried out suddenly”.

Therefore, it would instead like to reserve the female category for those who were recorded female at birth and have not undergone transition.

UKA does not believe the ‘sporting exemption’ introduced in the Equality Act 2010 allows them to lawfully exclude transgender women in possession of a Gender Recognition Certificate from competing.

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However, the UK government disagrees with UK Athletics’ stance that the law does not allow it to ban transgender women from female events on fairness grounds.

It believes the 2010 Equality Act does allow sports to protect the female category by putting restrictions on the participation of transgender athletes.

Some sporting federation have banned transgender women from competing in the women category of their games. The Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union banned transgender women from competing in female-only forms of their games.

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