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    Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies praises ‘fair’ decision to ban transgender women from elite rugby

    Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies praises ‘fair’ decision to ban transgender women from elite rugby – as GMB viewers agree inclusion should not come at ‘expense of women’s rights’

    • Sharron Davies, 57, says it’s ‘fair’ transgender women should not play elite rugby
    • World Rugby have banned trans women from elite game for foreseeable future
    • Swimmer appeared on Good Morning Britain with trans footballer Blair Hamilton
    • Viewers agreed that ‘safety’ of women should not be compromised in the sport  

    Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has praised the ‘fair’ decision to ban transgender  women from playing in elite female rugby. 

    The British athlete, 57, appeared on Good Morning Britain from her Plymouth home to debate whether World Rugby was right to decide that transgender women will not be permitted to play for the foreseeable future due to ‘significant’ safety concerns.

    She argued the decision was ‘about safety’ while transgender footballer Blair Hamilton, from Brighton, argued that the scientific evidence backing the choice wasn’t strong enough. 

    The majority of viewers agreed with Sharron, and felt that while transgender rights must be respected, the right to play sport at a high level should not come ‘at the expense of women’.   

    Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (bottom left) has praised the ‘fair’ decision to ban transgender women from playing in elite female rugby during a GMB appearance with trans footballer Blair Hamilton (bottom right) 

    The British athlete, 57, appeared from her Plymouth home to debate whether World Rugby was right after stating transgender women will not be permitted to play for the foreseeable future

    The British athlete, 57, appeared from her Plymouth home to debate whether World Rugby was right after stating transgender women will not be permitted to play for the foreseeable future

    ‘It’s about safety, but it’s about fairness as well,’ said Sharron, ‘How would any female athletes win any medals, have any success, if women who were born as men are allowed to compete?’ 

    The swimmer feels that segregation in sport is down to ‘obvious reasons’, and that rules should not be changed without first assessing the ‘benefits’ that being born as a biological male brings. 

    She added later: ‘Ultimately this is about fairness, we’re trying to create new rules for something that is a modern phenomenon. We’ve had segregation in sport for centuries for obvious reasons. 

    ‘You wouldn’t have a 15-year-old boy competing in the under 10s because it wouldn’t be fair and basically you’re asking the same for women’s sport. 

    The majority of viewers agreed with Sharron, and felt that while trans rights must be respected, the right to play sport at a high level should not come 'at the expense of women'

    The majority of viewers agreed with Sharron, and felt that while trans rights must be respected, the right to play sport at a high level should not come ‘at the expense of women’

    ‘What we’re saying is let’s do the science first, so we can assess any benefits male biology brings, so we can make it fair for women to achieve medals and careers and scholarships they are entitled to.’ 

    In a statement last week, World Rugby said that after examining the latest scientific research it concluded ‘safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby’.  

    Viewers quickly took to Twitter to agree with Sharron, with one writing: ‘Yes. Create trans teams. Simple. Trans rights have to be respected but not at the expense of women’s rights etc.’ 

    Another said: ‘It’s unfair!!! Plain and simple. Nothing against trans, I’m for their rights but you can’t change from a man to a woman then go and smash all the female records in sports.’ 

    Blair, 29, Brighton, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was come to without strong enough evidence

    Blair, 29, Brighton, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was come to without strong enough evidence

    Sharron went on to argue rules should not be changed without first assessing the 'benefits' that being born as a biological male brings

    Sharron went on to argue rules should not be changed without first assessing the ‘benefits’ that being born as a biological male brings

    A third wrote: ‘When the impact of allowing a trans woman to be involved in contact sport could be a danger to life then yes they are right to ban their participation!’  

    However Blair, 29, who transitioned from male to female two years ago, argued that this decision was arrived at without strong enough evidence, and without examining the research ‘in terms of a female athletic cohort’. 

    ‘What I want to do is take the emotion out of the situation and actually speak openly and honestly about the evidence we’ve got,’ said Blair. 

    ‘It’s good World Rugby has started this conversation and looked at a framework to see the advantages and disadvantages.

    She went on: ‘If we look at the evidence, the studies have not actually studied any transgender rugby players. Right now to my knowledge I believe that’s impossible as there are none at that level.’ 

    Some viewers did feel the issue should be up for further debate, calling the subject 'difficult' to assess

    Some viewers did feel the issue should be up for further debate, calling the subject ‘difficult’ to assess

    Blair added: ‘None of these studies have been done in terms of a female athletic cohort and none of it measures sport performance.’ 

    Some viewers did feel the issue should be up for further debate, calling the subject ‘difficult’ to assess. 

    ‘This is such a difficult one,’ wrote one. 

    Another agreed: ‘As long as you’re talking about a sport where physicality is a factor, trans participation is always going to be difficult. There’s no truly “fair” answer that I can see.’  

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