Claire Chandler Liberal senator for Tasmania has this week denounced recently launched inclusion policies adopted by Australia’s leading sporting codes saying that she believes they ignore evidence about transgender women.

Inclusion in sport is important and that’s why we have men’s sport for males, women’s sport for females, junior sport for children and a range of mixed and social sport options. Removing female-only sport as a standalone category is not inclusive, it is insulting and unfair, a statement on Chandlers website read.

Far from a new debate, the fight for trans inclusion in sport has continued since 1976 when trans tennis player Renée Richards was ousted, with the Lawn Tennis Association of Australasia saying Richards would not be eligible to compete in Australia. At the time, Australia’s most outspoken tennis player Margaret Court was reported as saying I wouldn’t be found playing on the same court as him. I would flatly refuse to take part.

It would appear that much Chandler assumptions are based on a report released in 2018 by World Rugby Association which detailed how there is likely to be “at least a 20-30% greater risk” of injury when a female player is tackled by someone who has gone through male puberty. The document also said that the latest science demonstrated that trans women retain “significant” physical advantages over biological women even after they take medication to lower their testosterone.

However, upon release of the report some 84 scholars in the fields of sport management, sport science and public health alongside others who conduct research with trans and gender diverse people from over 60 universities published a letter condemning World Rugby for its actions.

 The recently introduced framework, spearheaded by ACON and endorsed by The AFL, Hockey Australia, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia, Tennis Australia, Touch Football Australia, UniSport Australia and Water Polo, has also received criticism from anti-transgender organisation Binary. The organisation believe that the new sporting codes show a hatred of women and labelled their new policies as a “pathetic capitulation” to “radical gender activists.”

“Eight national sporting codes have joined the band wagon of discriminating against women.” spokesperson Kirralie Smith said in a video post. “Siding with radical gender activists they have chosen to allow biological males to compete as females.

“None of them have a definition of the term ‘man’ or women’. All of them seem to accept that biological males have a distinct advantage over females and have made a pathetic attempt to address the issue.”

Smith went on to add that under anti-discrimination laws most Australians would be prevented from speaking out against the new policies, sentiments reflected by Chandler who said she believed the vast majority of Australians wanted specific categories of sport to remain.

Sporting organisations should expect very close scrutiny on why they have ignored scientific evidence about risks to safety and fairness of female athletes, and how they justify receiving taxpayer dollars to promote women’s sport while actively undermining the very basis of it,” Chandlers statement concludes.

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