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Q34. What Are The Principles That The Women’s Sport Policy Working Group Used To Develop Its Approach To Males Who Identify As Transgender In Girls’/Women’s Sport?

A34. The principles that guided the Working Group in the development of its approach to males who identify as transgender in girls’/women’s sport are the following:

1.  Women’s sport is designed to provide a space where biological females – whatever their gender identity – can compete only against each other and not also against biological males—whatever their gender identity. The design is based in compelling data and scientific evidence on the immutable performance gap between male athletes and female athletes. This separate-sex space should be preserved and affirmed. Girls’ and women’s participation in competitive sport nurtures individual health and development, contributes to the welfare of the community, and powers society’s perception of the strength and value of women and girls

2.  Males who identify as transgender are biologically male and so per the design would normally be excluded. However, because their inclusion could also produce real value both for the individuals concerned and for society, we should work to avoid unnecessary distinctions and exclusions. Therefore, equitable and inclusive accommodations for males who identify as women; gender-fluid athletes; and nonbinary athletes should be encouraged, so long as those accommodations do not diminish females’ sport opportunities or financial rewards, nor females’ right to fair, safe, sex-separated sports experiences.

3.  Physical sex-linked differences between males and females are largely determined from the onset of male puberty but also have an impact on pre-puberty competitive sport. It is these differences that justify separate-sex competitive sport, and thus, they must be taken into account in developing responsible policy for girls’ and women’s sport.

4.  Protocols for co-ed sports are instructive, as is the related tradition in law and policy of looking for ways to include rather than to exclude when this is possible without doing harm to an otherwise valuable institutional design. Being transgender does not change the fact of one’s biological sex. Where it is recognized in existing co-ed sports policy that sex is relevant to fairness and safety, it cannot be ignored simply because an individual identifies as transgender. Similarly, where existing co-ed sports policy recognizes that sex is not relevant to fairness and safety, the goal should be unconditional inclusion.

5.  Specifically rejected as guiding principles are the unscientific, politically-driven mantras that claim that:

  • “sex-linked differences including testosterone levels are indistinguishable from other differences like height, weight, wingspan, and foot shape”;
  • “the performance gap between male and female athletes is based in myth, stereotype, and cultural inequities”;
  • “the physical legacy advantages associated with developing as a biological male don’t exist or matter to sports performance”;
  • “there is no evidence that transwomen and transgirls have a competitive advantage over females”; and
  • “females only have the right to participate not to win”.

These patently false claims have no place in a serious discussion of the policy question whether and how to include transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sport.