Team UK Olympian Mara Yamauchi has warned that passage of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland will see women in sport “let go en masse”. The proposed bill is currently being debated in the Scottish Parliament.
If passed, the bill will aim to make things quicker and easier for people who want to change their gender, without having to provide medical reports or evidence. This could therefore facilitate the participation of biologically male athletes in female competitions.
Despite concerns, Holyrood’s Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee heard two senior male leaders from Scottish government-funded or partially-funded sports organizations claim that, if passed, the Bill would not have a “significant impact” on the sport.
Yamauchi is far from convinced, however, and revealed that she was willing to testify before the committee and claim that it would in fact have a negative impact on women’s sport. She said sports mail “These changes will make it impossible for sports authorities to mandate single-sex sports.
“If this bill passes, people will have the right to change their legal sex by self-declaration. A biological male could show up at a sports club demanding to participate in a female sport and, if challenged, could show a birth certificate indicating a female, so that it becomes impossible for sports bodies – bearing in mind mind that many people involved are volunteers – to enforce sports categories according to birth sex.
With the passage of the bill to facilitate gender reassignment, the number of reassignments is expected to increase, and Yamauchi expects the same to happen in women’s sports. She added: “And because it will become easier for people to change their gender legally, I think it is reasonable to imagine that the number of men asking for inclusion in the female category will increase.
“If they accept that a Scottish GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate) is valid in the rest of the UK then the situation I have described could unfold across the UK. We could have a lot more men identifying as women expecting to compete in the women’s category of sport.
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“More and more sports bodies will be faced with the challenge of trying to impose single-sex sport. It will be impossible. The 48-year-old – who finished sixth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 – believes a increase in the number of biological men competing will have a “devastating” effect on women’s sport and deter “thousands” from competing.
“It’s really devastating for women’s sport. Every man who competes in the women’s category potentially affects thousands of female athletes,” Yamauchi commented. “A lot of young girls are going to be like, ‘Blimey, is this coming to my club? What’s the point of training if that’s the case? »
The issue of transgender athletes competing has become a huge topic of debate. Trans swimmer Lia Thomas broke a number of records at the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Atlanta, leading some to say she held an unfair advantage. Trans cyclist Emily Bridges has also been barred from competing in the women’s category, with a ban being imposed by the UCI.