Federal Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck has supported guidelines drawn up by the Human Rights Commission in partnership with Sport Australia and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which calls for people to be able to play in the sporting team of their identified sex, rather than their birth sex.  Senator Colbeck said he hoped the new rules would help tens of thousands of sports clubs across the country to be more inclusive and therefore boost the number of people playing sport.  But would being forced to compete with biological males mean females would be less likely to want to participate?

The federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) allows a person born male to be excluded from women’s competitions where “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant.”  (Section 42 (1)) The Guidelines refer to this provision but at the same time put strong pressure on sporting bodies and clubs to allow men who identify as women to compete against women.  The Guidelines also warn that it may amount to discrimination to ask for any documentation (e.g., a birth certificate) to show a man identifying as a woman is legally recognised as a woman.

However, this does not apply to sporting activities for children under 12 years (SDA, Section 42 (2) (e) and the Guidelines say they can compete as whatever sex they identify as.  What injuries could be inflicted upon females competing against males who have superior strength and stamina?  How will females fare in sports such as AFL, rugby league, rugby union, water polo, martial arts, wrestling and so on, when competing against males who identify as female?  In vigorous contact sports males can be put in direct physical contact with females in tackles and ball contests which can lead to inadvertent or deliberate sexual contact.  Should females be forced to accept this?

Will the Minister be responsible for any injuries or sexual assaults that result from forced mixed sporting competitions?  The Guidelines say males who identify as females should be able to use the female showers, toilets and change rooms if they so desire.  How can the Minister justify the increased risk of sexual assault by placing boys and girls together in shared toilets, change rooms and showers?  How does the Minister plan to mitigate the risk of sexual assault created by deliberately placing biological males in these intimate, closed female spaces?  Will the minister be held liable for financial damages sought by anyone who has been assaulted in these circumstances?

Source: Australian Family Association

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