Boris Johnson’s Bold Statement on the Future of Transgender Sports

British prime minister Boris Johnson has recently made a statement claiming that transgender women should not compete in female sports. To quote Johnson’s statement, “I don’t think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events. And maybe that’s a controversial thing… but it just seems to me to be sensible.” Johnson is not the first government official to speak out against transgender women. On June 2, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a transgender bill that banned transgender women from playing in any sports that involved athletes born as women. This has caused another uproar as trans women feel discriminated against. 

The fight for transgender rights has been ongoing for decades, and yet, it seems as though we are running in circles. As soon as we make a small stride in the fight for transgender rights, Republican states pass new bills that reduce progress. The main argument for the removal of trans women in female sporting events is the fact that individuals that are biologically born as men have an unfair advantage over individuals who are born as females. No matter how you look at it, this is a fact. Now, this is not to say that women are less capable than men, nor is it to say women cannot be as strong as men. Biologically speaking, men are stronger than women. Men have 40% more upper body strength and 33% lower body strength than women. In addition to this, cis males gain a significant boost in their athletic ability after puberty, increasing testosterone in the body. A trans woman is still biologically a man. This is the reason why we have two different categories for each respective gender. 

With all these bills barring transgender women, will they ever be able to compete? Although the situation may look dire in certain countries, there is still hope internationally. The International Olympic Committee had previously unstated rules that forced trans women to lower their levels of testosterone before competing. In spite of this, the IOC has recently stated that it would be reinstating a new trans-inclusion framework claiming that trans women should not be assumed to have an advantage over cis women. 

It’s essential to look at both sides of the spectrum before coming to a conclusion. Both trans women’s rights and cis women’s rights should be considered equally without giving an unfair advantage to one or the other. The reason why it is difficult to place a stamp on this issue and move on is that biology can be flexible. Every human being is different, which means their biological structures are also different. It is difficult to fit everyone’s needs into a single policy or law. Nonetheless, discriminating against trans women in sports is not the solution to this issue.