Majority of female athletes have no problem competing against trans women in sports, study finds

Lia Thomas is in the pool after a swim meet

A study has confirmed what we all already knew – that the majority of female athletes have absolutely no problem with trans women competing in women’s sports.

The study, conducted by one of Australia’s leading universities Monash University, found that less than a quarter (24 per cent) of women believed “trans athletes have an unfair advantage when they play on a female sport team”.

Despite this, almost half (46 per cent) of men surveyed felt that trans women have an “unfair advantage” when they play on women’s teams.

The research – which surveyed athletes from six different sports at 12 randomly selected clubs – comes as Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has backed a campaign looking to ban trans women from competing in women’s sports.

A proposed bill has been led by Liberal backbencher Claire Chandler and supported by Liberal candidate Katherine Deves, which will allow sporting groups and clubs to exclude trans women from single-sex sports in the country.

According to ABC Australia, Morrison did not say when asked in a press conference on Monday (11 April) if he would move to ban trans women from female sports. However, he said he “shares” Chandler and Deves’ views on the issue.

“I share their views. We will have more to say about that at another time,” Morrison told reporters.

“I welcome Katherine’s selection, pleased to play a role in that, I think she’s raised very important issues.

“I think Claire Chandler has also been outspoken and brave on these issues.”

Morrison previously called the bill, which would amend the Sex Discrimination Act to “clarify” that limiting sports on the basis of “biological sex” is legal and not discriminatory, “terrific”.

“I support it, as Claire knows,” the The Sydney Morning Herald reported him as saying. “I think it’s a terrific bill and I’ve given her great encouragement.”

Morrison’s views echo several cases of bigoted legislation across states in America to ban trans women from participating in sports, with particular debate around a trans college swimmer named Lia Thomas, who scooped several wins in university races.

Multiple states have enacted such legislation so far in 2022, with bans in IowaUtahOklahoma and Arizona being passed into law in March alone.

In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson was criticised for saying “biological males” shouldn’t compete in women’s sports, just weeks after scrapping a promised trans conversion therapy ban.

“I don’t think biological males should be competing in female sporting events,” he told  Sky News during a visit to a hospital on 6 April.

“Maybe that’s a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible.”

Richard Hearne, the founder of inclusive cycling group Pride Out, told PinkNews that Boris Johnson‘s “divisive” and “off-the-cuff” stance is unhelpful, considering that he is no expert on the area. “On what basis and knowledge has he made them?” he said.

He added: “Despite thorough scientific evidence concerning trans participation in sport by experts over many years, it appears that some people simply don’t want to entertain the idea of trans people being able to participate in sport.

“I think it’s a very sad situation, especially when trans people are already badly underrepresented in sport.”

Trans youth charity Mermaids also pointed to studies that have proven trans women do not have an unfair advantage in sports.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Trans women do not have an unfair advantage in sports and their participation does not harm cis women.

“To even be considered eligible to compete at an elite level, female trans athletes must undergo hormone therapy and rigorous testing for at least a year prior to training and competing.

“As we’ve seen with athletes such as Lia Thomas and Laurel Hubbard, who’ve both been beaten by cis-female athletes in their respective sports, being trans does not guarantee a win.”