For years, women’s advocates have tirelessly raised concerns about the safety and fairness of transwomen (biological males) being allowed to compete in women’s sport. One of the most vocal and persistent voices has been Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler.
After first announcing it at the end of last year, Chandler has today introduced her Sex Discrimination and Other Legislation Amendment (Save Women’s Sport) Bill 2022 to the Senate, stating that it will “make clear that single-sex sport for women is lawful, encouraged and supported by the Parliament of Australia”.
“Women’s sport exists to provide separate competition for females, in acknowledgement that males have numerous physical advantages over females in the sporting arena.
When the Bill comes to a vote, Parliamentarians will have a simple question to answer: Do you agree that women and girls have the right to play single-sex sport?
In recent years, too many sporting bodies and institutions have shamed themselves and betrayed women by answering ‘no’ to this simple question. Worse, female athletes and women speaking up in support of single-sex sport have been censored, denigrated and told to shut up.”
The Senator explains that Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984 has always acknowledged the relevance of sex in sport, but that recent interpretations have meant that sporting bodies are at risk of legal action if they exclude biological males who identify as women from women’s sport. She says that her Bill will make it clear that offering single-sex sport is lawful under Act.
“It will allow sporting codes to embrace single-sex sport for women without the threat of legal action under the SDA, while continuing to allow codes to offer a range of categories and competitions to maximise participation and inclusion. It does not seek to ‘ban’ anybody from playing sport.
What it does do is seek to restore respect for women’s rights and acknowledge the long-understood reality that categorisation by sex is important in the vast majority of sports.”
Senator Chandler’s bid to protect single-sex sport for women is supported by mounting evidence of safety and fairness issues that arise when biological males are allowed to compete in women’s sport (we have written and spoken about this numerous times, for example, here, here and here). It is supported by women’s advocates and sportswomen. It is supported by women and girls throughout Australia. It is time it is supported by our Parliament.