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20th Apr 2022

Olympic swimmer speaks out against Trans athletes amid controversial debates

Kieran Galpin

No Trans people were included in the discussion

The most decorated Australian Olympian has offered her concerns over Trans women competing in swimming competitions alongside those born female.

Responding to alleged comments made by Australia’s liberal party candidate Katherine Deves who suggested Transgender women should be banned from the sport, five-time gold medallist Emma McKeon said it’s “just not fair.”

According to InQueensland, the 27-year-old said: “I mean, I personally wouldn’t want to be racing against someone who is biologically a male, so that’s a concern.”

McKeon was speaking at Griffith University’s A Better Future For All seminar alongside Australian Netball Players Association CEO Kathryn Harby-Williams and the President of the Melbourne football club, Kate Roffey.

“It’s not a new thing, but it’s new in that sport, swimming, are going to have to deal with it,” she said.

McKeon did admit that: “You do want to be inclusive, but you don’t want to have females racing against swimmers who are biologically male because it’s just not fair.”

McKeon did not talk about Trans men, which is often the case throughout criticism as they don’t tend to fit the “they have an advantage” argument.

However the sporting world is not a monolith and many elite athletes support the inclusion of Trans women.

Back in 2020, tennis legend Billie Jean King, soccer champion Megan Rapinoe and WNBA trail-blazer Candace Parker joined 200 female athletes in supporting Trans youths entering the sports industry.

“There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind,” King said via the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). “I’m proud to support all transgender athletes who simply want the access and opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes.”

Deborah Antoine, CEO of WSF, said: “The fight for equality is the very cornerstone of the Women’s Sports Foundation; regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ability, all girls and women deserve the opportunity to play, compete and lead.”

The so-called “trans debate” is very often discussed without the inclusion of Trans voices, as evident in McKeon’s situation.

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