Sport Secretary Nadine Dorries has voiced strong support for the move to ban trans swimmers from competing in elite women’s events.
The global governing body for swimming, Fina, voted to exclude athletes who have gone through male puberty from racing against women, and Ms Dorries described this as reflecting an opinion she has held “for a long time”.
The Cabinet minister, who leads the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), also stressed that “it’s important that those trans women who want to compete can compete” by having their own category.
When asked about Fina’s decision on LBC, she said: “Yeah, I think it’s absolutely the right decision that they’ve reached, and I am going to encourage other sports (to do the same).
“In fact, we’ve recently developed a policy within my department.
“I’ve been of the opinion that Fina came to today for a long time and have discussed this with my own department and established a policy.
“We’re about to have a round table with all of the sports governing bodies.
“It is just unacceptable that trans women compete in women’s sport.
“If you have been through puberty, then you cannot reverse the size of your feet, the length of your femur, the density of your bone, your muscle strength, the size of your hand, there is nothing that you can reverse once you’ve been through puberty.
“And also, you know, it’s important that those trans women who want to compete can compete, and that they can do so fairly.
“I would just say the fairness should always trump inclusion as a principle.”
She added: “I just want to say that I totally support trans women in this, because some of the approbation that they receive because they’re competing in women’s sport can’t be very good for them and they should be able to compete in their own category.”
Fina’s 34-page policy document on the move clarifies that male-to-female transgender athletes are still eligible to compete in the women’s category “provided they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 [which marks the start of physical development], or before age 12, whichever is later”.
The announcement comes two weeks after cycling’s governing body, the UCI, voted to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete.