wo Former Olympians have expressed concern over the integrity of women’s sports categories amid proposals to reform Scotland’s gender identity process.
Former swimmer Sharon Davis and former marathon runner Mara Yamauchi visited Edinburgh on Thursday to attend the Scotland Conference for Women.
Both expressed frustration at not being able to invite female athletes to testify at the Hollywood Road Equality, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee, which is currently examining legislation.
The committee took evidence last month about the implications of the proposal on the sport, with Sports Cotland and Leap Sport Scotland hearing.
Ms Davis said she would appear before the committee “absolutely” if asked, while Ms Yamauchi revealed that she had written to the committee after a meeting of evidence on the game.
“I have just received a reply stating that they will not hold any more sessions on the game,” he said. “They need to listen to women athletes, and they need to listen to those who care about women’s sports.”
A letter from the committee’s convener, Joe Fitzpatrick, to Ms. Davis stated that there were “several aspects to the bill that the committee should consider”.
“You will appreciate that the game is just one of those aspects,” he wrote, adding that the broader issue of the inclusion of trans in the game goes far beyond the Bill’s “Specific Provisions Committee examination.” “
“After considering the issue at a committee meeting last week, it made a collective decision not to hold further evidence sessions with elite female athletes,” she said.
Ms. Davis told the conference about her experience competing in the Olympics, where she faced rivals from East Germany.
Sport is excluded by nature
“For me, it’s a passion that comes from fighting against the East Germans for a decade,” he said. “Young East German girls were put into masculine puberty, which is a terrible thing.”
He added: “At the Olympics, I won my silver medal because I was one of only two people outside the Eastern Bloc to win medals. They won 90% of the women’s medals and only 5% of the men’s.
Ms Davis added: “If we enable men to be included in women’s sports, then you are excluding women from their sports category.
“Sport is out of nature. The whole reason you have to be under 10 is because people under 10 can run and 12-year-olds can’t go and win.
Ms Yamauchi said she felt the game was included “until the idea of gender identity” was added, adding: “If there were no categories, only people with mature, fit bodies would be seen. There will be men, because they are groups. They have the most physical abilities. “
“We can all see with our own eyes how the gender ideology has damaged the women’s game, and I hope the political leaders will stop it now, because a lot has been done,” she said.
Ms. Yamauchi revealed that while she was competing, she chose to disassociate herself from “unfair competition” after being suspected of doping her rivals.
“The same goes for women who are facing men in their category,” she said.
The controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill will reduce the time required for a transgender person to remain in their acquired gender from the current two years to three months, followed by a period of three months.
The legislation will also eliminate the need to diagnose gender dysphoria before applying for a Gender Identification Certificate, and raise the minimum age for application from 18 to 16.