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International News Apr 6, 2022 7:36 PM EST

UK PM Boris Johnson says biological males should not compete in women's sports

"I don't think biological males should be competing in female sporting events. Maybe that's a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible," he said succinctly.

UK PM Boris Johnson says biological males should not compete in women's sports
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he believes biological men should not compete in female sporting events.

Johnson voiced his "controversial" opinion after concerns that biological male Emily Bridges could participate in the Commonwealth games. Bridges was recently ruled ineligible for the competition.

Johnson made his comments while speaking on a variety of LGBT issues.

"I don't think biological males should be competing in female sporting events. Maybe that's a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible," he said succinctly.

"I also happen to think that women should have spaces - whether it's in hospitals, prison or changing rooms - which are dedicated to women. That's as far as my thinking has developed on this issue.

"If that puts me in conflict with some others, then we have got to work it all out. It doesn't mean I'm not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition and it's vital we give people the maximum love and support in making those decisions.

"These are complex issues and they can't be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right."

LGBT charity Stonewall made a comment on Johnson's statement, saying that "Trans people deserve the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy the benefits of sport and blanket exclusions on trans people participating are fundamentally unfair.

"This is a complex and fast-evolving issue and much of the science doesn't yet exist in this area.

"Inclusion policies need to be considered on a sport by sport basis and it's vital to avoid using inflammatory rhetoric, which often causes trans people to stop playing the sports they love."

Johnsons comments, however, came after a letter was signed by a female cyclists, who called on the cycling world governing body to "rescind" rules that would allow biological males to participate in the sport.

The letter was signed by retired Olympians, scientists, and researchers, who said that there were huge differences between biological male participants in their levels of testosterone.

As reported by BBC News: "The letter included the signature of Sara Symington, head of Olympic and Paralympic programmes at British Cycling. It states:

"The group says current transgender rules should be 'rescinded' unless the UCI can provide 'robust scientific evidence that the rules guarantee fairness for female athletes'

"Lower testosterone levels 'cannot sufficiently mitigate all male sport advantage'
Current rules are 'asymmetric' and 'discriminatory' and UCI needs to 'better involve' the 'independent voice of elite female athletes.'"

In response, British Cycling said: "We understand that this is an important issue for our staff and riders, which is why we have worked hard to provide forums for them to openly share their views on our policy and transgender inclusion more widely.

"These discussions are an important part of our commitment to learn and understand more about how the sport sector can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes."

Bridges, however, said that she felt as though she was being discriminated against, and that she was being "harassed and demonized."

"I am an athlete and I just want to race competitively again. I hope they will reconsider their decision in line with the regulations," she said.

"I've been relentlessly harassed and demonised by those who have a specific agenda to push.

"They attack anything that isn't the norm. This is without care for the wellbeing of individuals or marginalised groups," she wrote.

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