05 September 2019

Olympic gold medalist Mary Peters says allowing transgender athletes into women's sport 'not an equal playing field'

British Olympic gold medalist Mary Peters has spoken out against transgender athletes being allowed to compete against women.      

Recently, there have been cases of men, who have transitioned to become women, being allowed to play against females, such as rugby player Kelly Morgan.

But Peters, who also has three Commonwealth Games gold medals to her name, compares the idea of allowing transgender competitors into the women's game to the East German doping programme in the 1970s and 1980s. 

“If a man becomes a woman they still have that testosterone in their body and it is not an equal playing field," she said.

“Girls (in the 1970s) who were 100% women who faded from the sport when the femininity test came in, East German coaches were encouraging girls to take drugs because they wanted success.”

It is a subject that has drawn many former athletes to comment on, including Olympic silver medalist swimmer Sharron Davies.

She said: “A woman with female biology cannot compete, it’s a pointless unfair playing field.

“The reason we have men and women’s races are because we are biologically different."

The debate was reignited last week when findings from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden suggested testosterone suppression for transgender women has little effect on reducing someone's muscle strength, even after 12 months of treatment.

The International Olympic Committee's policy says transgender women must take testosterone blockers for a minimum of one year before they can compete as a woman at elite level.

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