Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has said she wants to see sport divided by chromosomes instead of by gender following the Caster Semenya ruling yesterday.
In a Daily Mail article, Davies claimed there is “a real crisis in women’s sport” and said it “needs to be protected.”
“Caster’s case highlights what happens if athletes born with male characteristics and a Y chromosome compete in female sport.
“If we are not careful then in 10 years all the records in men’s sport will be held by men and all the records in women’s sport will be held by women who carry a Y chromosome. I think we need to look into reclassifying things.”
She continued: “Maybe we have an XX female category and then a category for men and XY. We want sport to be inclusive and perhaps the way to do this is based on biology.”
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against Semenya yesterday
Davies’ comments come after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against athlete Caster Semenya yesterday, who had challenged new rules that limit testosterone levels female athletes are allowed to have.
Under new regulations, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IIAF) will insist that female athletes with a so-called difference of sexual development (DSD) will have to undergo testosterone restrictions. The UN has condemned the treatment as an “unnecessary, humiliating and harmful medical procedure.”
Semenya, 28, who has naturally high testosterone levels, will now have to undergo hormone therapy for at least six months before competing in any competition.
“Caster Semenya is not male-bodied or transgender; she is a cisgender woman with naturally-occurring testosterone.”
– Athlete Ally
Davies posted various tweets online where she pleaded with her followers to “think of those girls who’ve lost out already.”
“We need to go back to simple biology & chromosomes to divide the sexes for physical competition,” Davies wrote in one tweet.
The swimmer and television presenter—who has spoken out on several occasions against transgender women being allowed to compete in sport alongside cisgender women—said she is “determined to fight for fairness & the rights of females to not have to compete against Y male bodied individuals.
“Sport is biology,” she continued.
Athlete Ally: ‘Caster Semenya is not male-bodied or transgender’
Athlete Ally, an LGBT+ sport organisation, challenged those views in a statement released to PinkNews today (May 2).
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“The lived experiences of and challenges faced by trans and intersex athletes are distinct and are often conflated,” the statement from Athlete Ally said.
“Caster Semenya is not male-bodied or transgender; she is a cisgender woman with naturally-occurring testosterone.
“On both Olympic and NCAA levels, policies have been developed through extensive medical and scientific consultation in order to allow trans athletes to participate in sport in a fair manner. Despite this Olympic policy being in place for over a decade, not one trans athlete has competed at the Olympic level, and so this fear of trans women taking over sport is simply a myth.
“At Athlete Ally, we are dedicated to ensuring that no one is excluded from sport. Given that nearly half of trans youth attempt suicide and this population is at increased risk of harassment and violence, and knowing the tremendous physical, mental and social benefit sport can bring, it would be a denial of their human rights to exclude them from participating in the sport they love.”
Sharron Davies has previously come under fire from LGBT+ activists
Just two months ago, Davies came under fire from LGBT+ activists after she said that there is “a fundamental difference between the binary sex you are born with and the gender you may identify as.”
She also said that—in order to protect women’s sport—that those with a “male sex advantage should not be able to compete.”
Her views were challenged at the time in a joint statement released by Pride Sports, LEAP Sports Scotland and LGBT Sport Cymru, who pointed out that transgender athletes have been competing for 15 years.
In their joint statement, the sporting organisations said that the policies that are in place are doing their job in ensuring fairness, and noted that “not a single transgender athlete has medalled at the Olympics.”
They also criticised Davies for her use of the term “male sex advantage,” which they said is “problematic” as it “implies that all men are stronger and faster than all women.”