UK rowing body bans transgender women from competing in women’s events

      UK rowing body bans transgender women from competing in women’s events

British Rowing’s new policy on participation in women’s events will come into force in September. Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images London CNN  — 

Transgender women will not be allowed to compete in the women’s category of British Rowing events, the sport’s UK governing body has announced ahead of a change in policy due to come in later this year.

Only athletes “assigned female at birth” will be allowed to compete in the women’s category in competitions under its jurisdiction, or be selected to represent Great Britain or England at international events, British Rowing said in a media release published Thursday.

Meanwhile, any athletes are eligible to compete in an “Open” category, while competitions can stage “Mixed” events at any level of competition, providing 50% of crew are eligible to compete as women, British Rowing added.

The policy includes athletes who compete in rowing and para-rowing, and applies at all levels including the Olympics and Paralympics, British Rowing added.

“All rowers are fully welcome in our sport, and we will not tolerate any form of discrimination so we urge the community to come forward should they experience any issues,” the governing body said

British Rowing’s new policy differs from that of World Rowing, which issued guidance in March that transgender women can compete in the women’s category if their “serum testosterone concentration has been less than 2.5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least the previous 24 months.” This was a reduction in the allowable testosterone level from the previous competition standards.

British Rowing’s updated policy, which comes into effect September 11, follows similar decisions from other governing bodies.

In April 2022, British Cycling banned trans and non-binary riders from competition, while the International Swimming Federation (FINA) voted in 2022 to approve a new policy that will restrict most transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s aquatics competitions.

In March, World Athletics introduced rules that prohibit athletes who have gone through what it called “male puberty” from participating in female world rankings competitions. WA said the exclusion would apply to “male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty.”

Mermaids, a UK-based charity that supports transgender children and their families, said in a statement: “Our recent report into the experiences of trans young people in sport highlighted the importance of inclusion, and yet more and more barriers are being put in their way.

“We want to see sporting bodies like British Rowing listening to trans people and taking proactive steps to make everyone feel welcome and accepted rather than creating unfair policies based on limited science and moral panic,” they added.

Liz Ward, director of programs at LGBTQ+ organization Stonewall, added: “Blanket exclusions on trans people participating are fundamentally unfair, which often causes trans people to stop playing the sports they love.

“While elite sport often dominates these discussions, it only makes up a tiny proportion of all sport played in the UK. We know that trans people are also under-represented in community sport and often feel excluded.”

She added: “Sport has the unique power to bring us together and it’s important that trans people have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport without facing exclusion or abuse.”


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