Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hockey labelled unfair over transgender policy

English hockey has been labelled ‘unfair’ and its policies ‘unclear’ after the sport was cited as one of 56 which allow transgender women to compete in their female categories.

Campaign group Women’s Sport Network’s Unfair Rotten Tomato is awarded to those sports that “allow males into the female categories at all levels of training, recreational sport and competition.”

“The Rotten Tomato signifies that the sport does not care about safety and fairness for its female participants,” it says.

“This is unacceptable. Women and girls deserve better.”

Women’s Rights Network introduced the WRN Fair Sports Awards in the summer of 2023. Since then, the network says, a number of sports NGBs and events have updated their policies.

England Hockey’s current policy states that transgender males are allowed in female categories.

“Any transgender person (male or female) is permitted to participate fully, i.e. train, play in informal matches or play in hockey competitions, in their affirmed gender. Verification of their sex should be no more than is expected of any other player,” the England Hockey policy dictates, which has evolved since first developed in 2012.

“If, on the day, before the match starts, a team refuses to play a match against a team fielding a trans female, they forfeit the game,” it adds.

Eleven sports were handed the network’s top prize: rugby union, rugby league, athletics, boxing, triathlon, ultramarathon, volleyball, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, waterski/wakeboard and wheelchair basketball.

The Sports Councils Equality Group, in 2020, conducted extensive research into inclusion, fairness and safety, and concluded that the inclusion of males into the female category could not be justified as this would adversely affect the safety and fairness of women’s and girls’ sport. WRN calls on all sports and events to introduce fair and safe sport for women and girls of all ages, and all levels of sport from recreational through to elite competition.

In May, pro woman publication Reduxx reported how a transitioned biological man was playing on a women’s hockey team in Scotland.

The publication reported that the player “is alleged to have injured a young female player at a match earlier this year.”

It is understood that the player had previously competed on the St Andrew’s University men’s side.

Scottish Hockey guidance says: “Hockey is a non-contact sport and SH sanctions men’s, mixed and women’s hockey competitions; as such there are no evidenced safety concerns for any trans male or female wishing to take part in sanctioned hockey competitions, in training or friendly/recreational hockey.”

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  1. So happy to see this coverage of the serious issues facing women and girls on hockey and other sports at the moment. It’s so important that we have the same opportunities as male players to enjoy fair competition without worrying about having to play against male players. It’s also not fair to ask when to accommodate males in their own teams, taking the places of females and creating uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situations. We should be able to enjoy our own sports.

  2. English hockey needs to be fair to females or the female game will eventually disappear. There are huge difgerences physically between males and females and that is the reason why there are separate categories in the first place. This is nothing to do with being against trans people and everything to do with fairness for women in sport. Whether someone identifies as trans or not they should be competing in their biological sex category.

  3. England Hockey knows that there’s a strength differential in men and women, the rules for mixed hockey and single sex teams are different for that reason. It just needs to apply this knowledge consistently across all categories.

    People identifying as trans are welcome to play in the categories corresponding to their sex. No one is banned or should be made to feel unwelcome!

  4. Hockey as a sport should be ashamed of not looking after its women and girl players and thoroughly deserves its Rotten Tomato listing. Well done to the women’s rights organisations that are campaigning for fair and safe sport for women and girls. It is not fair or safe to mix grown men in teams with women and girls (and what about mixed sex changing rooms?). Safeguarding seems to have gone out of the window. My daughter was keen on hockey until a boy was allowed to play on the opposite team. Now she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. I’m steering her towards a sport that cares about the welfare of its young women. Currently it’s volleyball. Not hockey.

  5. The current transgender policy is a safeguarding fail for women and girls in hockey. Other sports are moving forward with safe and fair policies while England Hockey seem to be stalling, why?

  6. After seeing the horrific injuries caused by a male player in a female team, how can those in charge of hockey defend allowing males who identify as trans to continue to be allowed to play in the female teams. The board must read the wealth of peer reviewed science and protect the female category and stop more girls being seriously injured.


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