Trans men have muscled their way into women's sports, and the impact is proving devastating. Women from across 25 UK sports have spoken of the “widespread problem” of male competitors harming the female-only category.
In the first report of its kind, campaign group Fair Play for Women collated personal testimonies of how women have lost their privacy, safety and performance rankings after men who claimed to be women joined competitive and recreational sports.
According to the report, three-quarters of UK sports allow men to enter the women’s competition through self-declared ‘gender identity’ or on the basis of testosterone levels.
In Judo, a world medallist who trained for ten years immediately quit the sport after a man broke a woman’s finger and dislocated another’s shoulder.
One athlete said she suffered “death threats and appalling abuse because I speak up in defence of fair and safe sport for females”.
A Pool player, who was beaten by a man, reflected: “This was only my fourth final ever, but the trophy or money meant nothing to me without fairness. The devastation I have felt, I can’t even explain. I didn’t eat or sleep properly for two days. I was crying until 3am. I was devastated.”
“I see younger women deflated, before they’ve even started. You can see that they’re beaten before they’ve even started playing. Their confidence is knocked out of them and I think they will stop entering competitions.”
One cyclist reported that a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced “flashbacks of the abuse she had suffered” after unexpectedly encountering a male competitor.
In rowing, women “found it difficult to object” after being pressured to share changing rooms and accommodation with men.
Fair Play for Women’s Director of Sport Fiona McAnena said: “Some people seem to think junior girls and women who are not elite should just put up with unfairness.
“We say women and girls should not have to accommodate males at any level. We are calling on sport governing bodies to end this unfairness now at every level in their sport.”