Group of Women’s Sport Icons Seeks ‘Science-Based Approach to Trans Inclusion’

A group of Olympians, high-profile female athletes, and women’s sports advocates are calling for a science-based approach that balances the inclusion of trans athletes with fair opportunities within women’s sports.

Policies on transgender athletes have become a hot-button issue, with some arguing for the rights of transgender athletes to compete and others raising concerns about fair competition between transgender and cisgender athletes.

Most recently, President Joe Biden issued an executive order mandating that public schools allow equal opportunities for transgender students, specifically mentioning youth sports and locker room access.

The Women’s Sports Policy Working group, made up of women’s sports advocates and many high-profile athletes, is supporting that executive order, but calling for Biden and Congress to limit participation for transgender women who have “experienced all or part of male puberty,” according to USA Today.

“We fully support the Biden executive order, ending LGBT discrimination throughout society, including employment, banking, family law and public accommodations,” said Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer and women’s sports advocate Nancy Hogshead-Makar in the USA Today story. “Competitive sports, however, are akin to pregnancy and medical testing; these areas require a science-based approach to trans inclusion. Our aim has been on protecting the girls’ and women’s competitive categories, while crafting accommodations for trans athletes into sport wherever possible.”

Per USA Today, the group pointed out a patchwork of varying state rules on sport participation for transgender athletes, calling for national clarity and a more unified approach to participation.

“There have been so many different approaches to this issue, from all-inclusion no matter what to all-exclusion no matter what,” said tennis star Martina Navratilova.

Another member of the working group, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Donna de Varonasaid that the extreme positions are preventing progress on actual solutions – creating a need for the working group.

“We’re interested in starting a dialogue and creating policies where we can find a solution,” she told USA Today. “No one else is doing this. No one else is focusing on a solution. The extreme positions are keeping us from focusing on a fair, science-based solution. All of us have benefited from sport and we’re just trying to help.”

The group also includes Women’s Sports Foundation CEO Donna Lopiano, law professor Doriane Coleman and National Scholastic Athletics Foundation founding board member Tracy Sunlun, in addition to Navratilova, de Varona, and Hogshead-Makar.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
R. W. Rowe
3 years ago

The best solution is to create the transgender leagues of sports.

3 years ago

Men should not compete in women’s athletics. Make a 3rd category as suggested. Challenge solved. Not sure why it’s that hard – we did it with bathrooms – we can do it with sports.

3 years ago

Let’s hear from science, not emotions or political views. What a sensible position.

3 years ago

If folks were to think of ‘men’s’ teams as open division (ie anyone can play on pga, nba, nfl, etc) with Women’s teams restricted to women, hence wnba, lpga, etc) then the need to over regulate would be reduced if not eliminated. Lord knows most people desire regulation these days so probably a terrible idea on my part. It is already an issue in track and field. Here is one example:

3 years ago

Why not have a separate division for trans men and women? That would be the best way to deal with this issue, I think any trans person would still have an advantage in open divisions, similar to drug cheats!

IU Kicker
3 years ago

I learned a long time ago that the only person’s race I can affect is my own. I race the clock. If you are transgender, and on the block next to me, I recognize that you have worked hard to be there and faced trials that I have not. Let’s race:)

Reply to  IU Kicker
3 years ago

You say that until you lose out on scholarship or championship roster spots because trans athletes took your spot in thr womens category.

Have fun sitting B final champ while the A final is trans athletes. No one remembers who won the B final.

Dawn Ennis, Managing Editor, Outsports
Reply to  Questionable
3 years ago

There has not been ONE, not even one, cisgender woman who lost out on a scholarship to a trans competitor. There are trans swimmers, both men and women, and they’re amazing!

This is a solution in search of a problem. What do coaches look for? What are scholarships awarded for? Personal best. NOT who comes in 1st 2nd or 3rd. Trans girls and women want to compete in the category matching their gender. Putting girls in men’s categories is just as wrong as allowing men to compete with women. Trans girls are girls, not boys. Trans… Read more »

Reply to  IU Kicker
3 years ago

You can tell this person spent too much time in sports and not enough in science or biology if that’s their opinion. Let’s listen to the SCIENCE and not some random idiot’s emotions, okay people? If there’s no difference between men and women in sports, then let’s just combine them all? Suddenly there are no more top female athletes, lmao.

Troll Longhorn
3 years ago

What should they do? Just shut up and let something play out that they disagree with?

3 years ago

You mean realists? Being trans doesnt make you any more or less human than a male or female, so why treat them exceptionally special while actively destroying the athletic possibilities of women?

Reply to  Questionable
3 years ago

You are 100% correct

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »