Lady Mary Peters: Trans women competing in women's games is "not an equal playing field"

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year - Arrivals

Four-time gold medalist and former Olympian Lady Mary Peters has spoken out on transgender athletes competing against women.

Lady Mary Peters said: “If a man becomes a woman they still have that testosterone in their body and it is not an equal playing field," for them to compete with women.

Lady Mary Peters compared it to the East German doping programme in the 1970s and '80s. 

“Girls (in the 1970s) who were 100% women who faded from the sport when the femininity test came in, East German coaches were encouraging girls to take drugs because they wanted success.”

She joins fellow British Olympians in the debate, Kelly Holmes and Sharon Davies.

Davies mentioned in April that competing together with trans women would be unfair because of the biological differences, while Holmes echoed those views, saying it would be a joke and separate games should be created. 

In 2015, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released guidelines saying that trans women should take testosterone blockers for at least a year before competing.

Following the release, the IOC said: “It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition.”

However, research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden released this year shows that the hormone blockers would have little to no effect on reducing muscle strength. 

On the other side of the argument, transgender cyclist and Masters Track World Champion Rachel McKinnon responded: “There is no debate to be had over whether trans women athletes have an unfair advantage: it’s clear that they don’t.” 

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“Since the Nov 2003 IOC policy openly allowing trans women to compete, not a single trans athlete has even qualified for the Olympics, let alone won a medal.”

This debate perhaps calls for more research, ensuring both parties' arguments are considered.

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