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MP Warns Sporting Regulators Fear Being Cancelled For Banning Trans Athletes

Tim Loughton said bodies also worried about ‘costly’ and ‘vexatious’ legal claims

Sporting regulators fear being cancelled or sued if they ban trans competitors from female sports, a MP has told Parliament.

Tim Loughton said the organisations want firm rules on ensuring that only biological females compete against each other, but risk “vexatious, costly legal actions” and being dragged on social media as “transphobic and exclusionary.”

The Tory politician said biological sex needed to be defined within law so that regulators can confidently ensure women and girls do not face disadvantages within their own categories.

He said the “conflation of sex and gender” had led to a climate of fear and self-censorship that also stretched as far as Parliament.

Loughton said it was now up to parliamentarians to speak out “openly, fearlessly and respectfully” without “fear of being cancelled.”

“Last year, the UK sports councils looked at the science, and concluded that it is categorically unfair to allow males into female sport,” Loughton told Westminster.

“However, the campaign group Fair Play for Women still knows of men competing in women’s events. In English football, there are around 50 such males.

“A 30-something male was selected as goalkeeper for the British universities team.

“In individual sports such as cycling and running, women have lost medals and prizes to males identifying as female”

Women Excluded

Loughton supports an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to make the characteristic of sex refer to biological sex.

MPs debated the petition, along with a second one that says sex shouldn’t be defined, on Monday.

The tense debate led to clashes within the House between politicians.

Focusing in on sports, Loughton said the “entire purpose” of competitive gender categories is to allow girls and women to “compete fairly, like against like.”

“We know that males are bigger, stronger, faster,” he saif.

“During puberty, testosterone broadens their shoulders, and makes their bones and muscles larger and far stronger.

“There is no way to undo those changes. They are so advantageous in sport that in every single track and field event, the women’s world record has been surpassed many times not just by elite male athletes but by teenage boys.”

The Tory said the issue didn’t just affect elite sports, but also junior level.

“Parents worry that their daughters will get injured on the field playing with bigger, stronger, heavier boys who identify as girls,” he said.

“Faced with such unfairness and risk, women and girls vote with their feet.

“A measure that is described as ‘inclusive’ actually means that girls and women are excluded from their own competition.”

Earlier this week, the Telegraph reported that a number of members of England’s angling team quit after a trans woman was called up to join the female squad of a major competition next month.

Three members of the six-strong squad stepped down after Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges, who was born male, was chosen for the Home Nations shore fishing championship, the newspaper reported.

Referring to the case in Parliament, Loughton added that many women in other sports were not only critical of unfair strength advantages posed by trans competitors but also having to share training and changing spaces with those born male.

“It is not fair on women and girls who spend years training in their sport, only to have it snatched away by competing against somebody who is biologically different,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Undated image of the Houses of Parliament, London. (John Walton/PA)

‘Trans Existence Debated’

Women’s rights campaigners welcomed Loughton’s intervention, with campaign group Fair Play for Women writing to the MP on Twitter: “Thank you for standing up for women’s sport”.

Labour MP Nadia Whittome criticised the debate.

“I want to apologise to all trans people forced to listen to their very existence being debated,” she said on Twitter.

“I’m ashamed that this is where we are: that instead of discussing the very real issues trans people face, like access to healthcare, we’re having to defend their basic rights.”

A “community note,” used by Twitter to correct misleading information, was later added to the MP’s tweet.

It stated: “None of the MPs who spoke debated the existence of trans people. No MPs called for legal protections for trans people to be removed or repealed.”

Last month, British Cycling announced that it was banning biological men from taking part in all-female competitive events.

The decision followed a nine-month consultation and a review of the latest science, a statement from the governing body said.

Under the new rules—which ended transgender cyclist Emily Bridges’ chances of competing for Britain in the female category—the men’s division will be replaced by an “open category.”

It will include biological women and biological men.

The “female category” will be preserved for those who are biological women, it added.

Bridges, who began to identify as a transgender woman in October 2020, described the new rules as a “violent act.”

In a statement posted to Instagram, the cyclist wrote: “British Cycling is a failed organisation, the racing scene is dying under your watch and all you do is take money from petrochemical companies and engage in culture wars. You don’t care about making sport more diverse, you want to make yourself look better and you’re even failing at that.”

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