MPs will be shown a breakdown of the latest research into transgender participation in sport
MEPs are shown a breakdown of the latest research on transgender participation in sport to ensure they are informed when proposing how sports organizations should regulate the eligibility of men and women
- The briefing note ‘focus’ on scientific work will be published next month
- It is being drafted to ensure that ministers are properly informed on the subject
- The failure of all investigations could lead to significant intervention by Parliament
MPs get an overview of all the latest research on transgender participation in sport in what is a potentially important Parliament intervention.
The briefing note ‘focus’ on scientific work will be published next month, after work on it has accelerated in recent weeks, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.
It is being drafted to ensure that MPs are properly informed when proposing how other sports organizations should draft their regulations on the eligibility of men and women.
The feud over transgender athletes and those with differences in sexual development (DSD) has become increasingly toxic in recent weeks.
Emily Bridges, the British track cyclist, was not allowed to make her elite woman debut in March after an intervention by the UCI governing body.
Bridges, who is now likely to miss out on qualifying for the 2024 Olympics after a rule change, reported that she was the victim of physical violence after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said women’s sport should be preserved for “organic” women. Lia Thomas, the American transgender swimmer, was the subject of furious protests during the recent college championships in the United States.
MPs get an overview of all the latest research on transgender participation in sport in what could be an important intervention (photo: British transgender driver Emily Bridges)
The new report is being prepared by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), which uses a team of academics to produce a peer-reviewed overview of ‘the best and most up-to-date’ scientific knowledge on a topic .
It was commissioned in January 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic. The MoS spoke with several experts consulted prior to publication.
A POST spokesperson said: ‘We are producing a POSTnote briefing on testosterone and sports performance. This work will focus on the scientific literature describing the relationship between sports performance and testosterone.
“It will investigate the implications for transgender athletes and athletes with differences in sexual development in elite competitions, and how this informs policy-making by sports organizations.
‘We are also looking at possibilities to facilitate inclusive sports participation and the ethical debate about fairness in sports competitions.’
The briefing note is being prepared to ensure MPs are properly informed when proposing how sports organizations should regulate the eligibility of men and women (above: Canadian star Quinn)
dr. Alun Williams, who works at Manchester Metropolitan University, is one of the experts consulted by researchers. He welcomed the prospect of its publication.
“It’s good that the government is considering an issue that is important for the sport and which of course can be very emotional,” Williams said.
‘A focus on scientific evidence, but also thinking about how that evidence can be translated into policy, while taking ethical issues into account, seems to me the right approach.’
‘I hope it helps sports organizations to implement policies based on current scientific data that are also practical and ethical.’
Payoshni Mitra, the chief executive of the Global Observatory for Gender Equality & Sport, said she hoped the plight of individuals affected by regulation would be given adequate attention in the report. “This debate isn’t about science, it’s about real people,” she said. “I hope that the briefing paper and any further action taken by the UK Parliament will respect the UN Human Rights Council’s emphasis on inclusion and non-discrimination.”
Mitra, who has worked with DSD athletes, highlighted the experience of those who have undergone medical interventions to qualify them to participate.
The UN Human Rights Council urged that “states should prohibit the enforcement of regulations that pressure athletes to undergo unnecessary medical interventions as a condition of participation in sport, and review and investigate the alleged enforcement of such regulations,” it said. .
Williams is the senior author of an ‘expert statement’ on transgender participation, prepared for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.