July 13th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Transgender birth certificates: No sex, please, we're Victorian

EDITORIAL Laws, sporting bodies, the AHRC: Abolishing women's rights in sport

CANBERRA OBSERVED Did Turnbull attempt the constitutional gambit?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS China kills prisoners on an industrial scale to obtain transplant organs

NATIONAL AFFAIRS A Q&A to clarify issues in Cardinal Pell's appeal

REFLECTION ON GENDER Male and female He created them: A teaching moment

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 5: The cosmos in the New Testament

CULTURE OF DEATH Melinda Gates and other wealthy lemmings lead the race to dusty death

EUTHANASIA Death comes to the Garden State: A blunt view

ASIAN HISTORY Dien Bien Phu: Curtain raiser to bigger conflict

HISTORY AND RELIGION Faith in reason alone gives more heat than light

BOOK REVIEW Roadmap to the law and transgenderism

HUMOUR The last act is bloody ...

MUSIC Dull Tune? Arrangements can be made

CINEMA Tolkien: Captures the storyteller but not the man

BOOK REVIEW We have nothing to fear but fear itself

BOOK REVIEW The days of calm before the storm

NATIONAL AFFAIRS High power prices lead to more deaths of elderly

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Laws, sporting bodies, the AHRC: Abolishing women's rights in sport

by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, July 13, 2019

Restricting single-sex sports to children of one sex under 12 years of age is illegal under federal law, while in rugby union, girls and women can be expelled from the game, like Israel Folau, for protesting on their social media against biological males who identify as female playing in their competition.

The Israel Folau case is just the tip of the iceberg
as laws, regulations and sporting codes shut down

freedom of speech and attack women’s rights.

Gender ideology in sport is now being pushed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, imposed by professional and amateur sporting bodies, and enforced by federal law.

In 2013, the federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) was amended to give protected attribute status to a person’s gender identity over their biological sex. With no minimum threshold required, a bio­logical boy/man can now identify as a girl/woman, with or without sex-change surgery, and with or without taking puberty blockers or cross sex hormones.

The SDA provides an exemption (Section 42 (1)) that allows a person born male to be excluded from women’s competitions where “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant”. But, this does not apply in the case of “sporting activities for children who have not yet attained the age of 12 years” (Section 42 (2) (e)).

For those under the age of 12, the SDA says it is “unlawful to discriminate on the ground of sex, gender identity or intersex status by excluding persons from participation in any competitive sporting activity”. Consequently, any biological boy under 12, whether he identifies as a boy or as a girl, can play in a female-only competition, and sporting authorities could face discrimination charges for refusing this natal male’s participation.

So, in contact sports like rugby, a boy can be put in physical contact with girls in tackles, scrums and lineouts. This can lead to inadvertent or deliberate sexual contact.

One can imagine similar sexual contact issues in other vigorous contact and limited contact sports: martial arts, wrestling, water polo, and so on.

While media attention has concentrated on the Israel Folau case, it is just the tip of the iceberg for what competitors, sports officials and fans are now facing.

Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for using his personal social media to state his Christian moral views on sexuality, drugs, alcohol and other matters. Rugby Australia’s administrators determined that he had violated the Rugby Code of Conduct by bringing the code into “disrepute or discredit”.

The Code of Conduct covers not only professional players (p6), but coaches (pp7-8), administrators, officers of a rugby body (pp9-10), match officials (p11), spectators/parents, fans (p12), and all other participants (pp13-14). It says that anyone associated with the sport must treat “everyone equally regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability”, and must not bring the sport into “disrepute or discredit” over any of these special attributes.

Rugby Australia’s five-page “Gender Identity Dispensation Procedure” explains how girls/women are obliged to allow any male who identifies as a girl/woman to play in the female competition. Self-identification is the only criterion, except at the elite level, where the International Olympic Committee rules apply. These require that natal males lower their testosterone levels for a time before being eligible for the women’s competitions.

Further, the Code of Conduct not only requires females to accept natal males in their games, but it also covers what anyone associated with the sport says about this policy on their personal social media. It says: “Do not use social media as a means to breach any of the expectations and requirements … contained in this Code or in any Union, club or competition rules and regulations” to bring rugby “into disrepute or discredit”.

So, what happens if girls/women complain on their personal social media about biological males playing in their competition? Wouldn’t such complaints be regarded as bringing the sport into disrepute? Will those who complain face disciplinary procedures and sanctions, as Israel Folau has?

The 28-page Code of Conduct sets out extensive disciplinary procedures graded from local, to state, to national disciplinary bodies, with the most serious leading to “suspension for a specified number of matches or period of time” and “withdrawal of … membership”: that is, expulsion from the game, as happened with Folau.

If parents or fans were similarly to complain on their personal social media, they can face “exclusion orders” from rugby playing grounds.

These draconian rules are backed by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which has just issued its 69-page “Guidelines for the Inclusion of Transgender and Gender-Diverse People in Sport”. The Guidelines were produced by the AHRC in partnership with the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS). COMPPS is made up of the Australian Football League, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, the National Rugby League, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia and Tennis Australia.

COMPPS claims to cover 16,000 clubs and claims to represent 9 million participants.

These Guidelines are said to “provide information to assist decision-makers to comply with their legal obligations under the SDA, and to maximise the inclusion of transgender and gender-diverse people in sport”.

They reiterate that, under the federal Sex Discrimination Act, sporting authorities can exclude a man who identifies as a woman from the women’s competitions where “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant”, but at the same time put strong pressure to allow trans male-to-females access not only to female competitions but to their private spaces, like change rooms. Refusal is branded as discrimination.

Together, the SDA, sporting codes like that of Rugby Australia and the AHRC are applying gender ideology, the new Marxism of the 21st century, to erase the differences between men and women. Yet, isn’t it obvious that men and women are built differently, with differences in strength, stamina and physique?

Not according to the AHRC. The Guidelines claim that there is only “limited research examining the impact of testosterone on the sporting performance of trans women” and that “while testosterone levels affect these physical characteristics, many factors can have an impact on a person’s sporting ability”.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says just the opposite. In a recent case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport over who is eligible to play in elite women’s Olympic sports, a detailed 2018 IAAF scientific report on “Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification” said that its low testosterone rule for intersex women and transgender male-to-females is based on science that confirms the importance of testosterone. The Explanatory Notes/Q&A accompanying the report cite the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Chand v IAAF & AFI and explain why there are separate men’s and women’s competitions.

They say: “Men have significant advantages in size, strength and power over women, due in large part to men’s much higher levels of circulating testosterone from puberty onwards. Because of the impact that such advantages can have on sporting performance, it is generally accepted that competition between male and female athletes would not be fair and meaningful, and would risk discouraging women from participation in the sport.

“Therefore, in common with many other sports, the IAAF has created separate competition categories (or ‘classifications’) for male and female athletes ….

“To the best of our knowledge, there is no other genetic or biological trait encountered in female athletics that confers such a huge performance advantage.”

Furthermore, as I pointed out in my recent book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey, endocrinologist and hormone specialist Dr Ramona Krutzik says that the advantages accumulated over 20 years of physical development as a male won’t disappear after a few years of androgen blocking.

Dr Krutzik says that men are completely developed by the age of 22, giving them considerable advantage in muscle formation in their early years of development. She said: “Typically, you’re looking at about 15 years after androgen suppression and SRS [sex-reassignment surgery] to really start to see significant changes in bone density.”

A study by Thaibault et al. in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine (2010) analysed 82 quantifiable Olympic events to compare the performances of men and women.

Overall, the study observed a gap in world records “after 1983, at a mean difference of 10.0 per cent ± 2.94 per cent between men and women for all events… the gap ranges from 5.5 per cent (800m freestyle, swimming) to 36.8 per cent (weightlifting).”

The AHRC naively argues that there is “no evidence of a person transitioning in order to gain a competitive advantage”.

Tennis champion Martina Navratilova argues otherwise. Earlier this year, she criticised sporting authorities for allowing hundreds of transgender male-to-female athletes to achieve “honours as women” in women’s sports after changing their gender identity “by declaration and limited hormone treatment”.

She said: “Simply reducing hormone levels – the prescription most sports have adopted – does not solve the problem … To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.

“It’s insane and it’s cheating”.

Will sportswomen speak out and protest over these widening rules that are likely to see growing numbers of natal males playing in their sports?

Chris Judd – a former captain of the West Coast Eagles and Carlton in the Australian Football League (AFL), and now a sports commentator – says the issue is fairness to women and that difference is not discrimination.

Writing in The Age last year, he said: “The big issue is that people who don’t support transgender athletes playing football feel that they’re at risk of being labelled prejudiced fanatics if that opinion becomes public.”

Of the six AFLW players Judd spoke to, “five felt strongly that transgender athletes shouldn’t be allowed to compete in the AFLW or VFLW, and one was not sure. But all six felt uncomfortable about commenting on it publicly for fear of being labelled bigots, or for appearing to be insensitive.”

When Martina Navratilova spoke out, the 18-time Grand Slam winner was sacked from her ambassador’s role with, and from the advisory board of, Athlete Ally, a New York-based group that supports LGBT people in sports.

Since many women are being silenced, the National Civic Council has published two books, Transgender: One Shade of Grey and The Little Grey Book on Sex and Transgender to defend the rights of girls and women and to give a voice to those afraid of being labelled as bigots and insensitive for publicly expressing their concerns.

Patrick J. Byrne is national president of the National Civic Council.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm