Steph's Place

Kirsti Miller: “The tide has turned people”

by Co-Editor Paul

Given what we are currently witnessing in America with bill after bill attempting to remove transgender rights from sport, this is maybe a bold statement to make, but if anyone knows, Kirsti knows!

As a teenager, and pre-transitioning, Kirsti was a world-class athlete who broke state swimming records and was Australian U16 Aquathon Champion. She then represented Australia in the Modern Pentathlon (swimming, show jumping, fencing, pistol shooting and cross country running) at both Junior and Senior World Championships, and was the youngest Australian competitor ever selected to represent her country at Junior level. But after transitioning and meeting the Sports Authorities requirements for transgender qualification, she completely lost her ability to compete with cisgender women at anything like the levels she had competed with pre-transition against men. Having specialised in swimming and cross country running, Kirsti was no longer able to compete in those sports against women. She is living proof that there is no retained male advantage after transitioning.

Since that time she has retained her interest and involvement in sport (you can read more about Kirsti here as our Feature Story: https://www.stephsplace.uk/kirsti-miller-the-story.cfm) and her level of knowledge and understanding of the science is unquestionable. Kirsti is uniquely able to speak from a position of being a pre-transition world class athlete who not only has experienced first-hand what impact her treatment to reduce Testosterone levels had on her sporting ability, but also on her own health. She was affected so badly she has come close to losing her life and needing hospital treatment for lung issues due to having complete androgen deprivation in her body – all as a direct result of following the sporting authorities fixed requirements of taking drugs to enable her to participate in Women’s sports. https://twitter.com/KirstiMiller30/status/1340196907876958208?s=20  These health issues that she experienced could have been alleviated had they permitted her to compete whilst still ensuring her body’s androgen needs were being met. 

Kirsti has campaigned long and hard that there exists a real health safety issue and that trans women are being forced to inflict serious health implications on themselves simply for being permitted to compete in elite level sport. This is exactly the same for those that are Intersex, and most notably for Caster Semenya.

 https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/09/08/caster-semenya-cant-defend-olympic-title-unless-she-lowers-testosterone-court-rules/

The total hypocrisy of this being that if this genuinely had anything to do with fairness in sport, surely all women in elite sport would have their endogenous T levels checked, as any cisgender women who had a naturally high testosterone levels, by World Athletics own ruling, would have an ‘unfair advantage’.  And this is further compounded by the ruling that Caster, a double Olympic champion, is unable to defend her title in the 800m at Tokyo due to a rule change by World Athletics that she is not allowed to compete in events between 400m and a mile unless she takes drugs to reduce the levels of testosterone in her body – however she is permitted to legally compete in the Women’s events at any distance under 400m or over 1 mile – how can she be accepted to compete in one distance race without any restrictions or requirements but not another? And by this logic, surely any trans women can now compete in the Women’s 100m or 200m without having to reduce their T Levels below the permitted level? It makes no sense whatsoever.

So from this highly contentious position, what has happened to now make Kirsti triumphantly claim that “the tide has turned”. The simple answer is the release of a statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) entitled - Unity in Diversity: IOC emphasises inclusion in sport during LGBTQ Pride Month. (see link below to the full IOC statement)

This statement released to coincide with the start of Pride Month, so being specifically of relevance to the LGBT community, signals a complete reversal of policy from the IOC as stated by IOC President Thomas Bach:

 “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

 “Practising sport, without discrimination of any kind, is a human right and a Fundamental Principle of the Olympic Movement. We believe in the power of sport to build bridges between people and communities. The Olympic Games unite the whole world in peaceful competition and solidarity without any kind of discrimination.”

“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

In layman’s terms, what this effectively means is that the IOC have adopted a base line policy that sporting competition is a human right for all regardless of how we are born or who we are. The IOC are now to set in motion a new charter for sport that will be fully inclusive, as stated within the IOC Statement release :

Ensuring safe and fair competition for athletes

As part of its commitment to inclusion across the Olympic Movement, the IOC is also working on a new framework to ensure fairness, safety and non-discrimination of athletes on the basis of gender identity and sex characteristics.

To that effect, the IOC has run a consultation process to consider not only medical, scientific and legal perspectives, but also that of human rights, with an emphasis on the views and experiences of affected athletes.

This consultation process will be instrumental in the development of the new framework, which will acknowledge the differences that exist between different sports in order to find suitable mechanisms, policies and approaches to ensure inclusion, non-discrimination, fairness, proportionality and safety for all athletes in each sport.

Most importantly, this process is being undertaken solely by those who uphold the principles of human rights and safety in sport - this will be implemented by those committed to Human Rights and not Gender Critical beliefs – and when they say safety in sport, they mean the safety in ensuring that trans women are not forced to inflict serious health issues on themselves as a condition of competing in elite sport. But before any cries come out of ‘cisgender women’s safety and fairness’ being abandoned, the inclusion of ‘fairness, proportionality and safety for all athletes in each sport’ is a clear commitment that they will not abandon other aspects of fairness within this policy. There will now be a balance based on the real science and real evidence, not just unproven theory and hearsay.

The IOC have realised that world sport simply cannot force competitors to inflict long term physical damage on themselves through taking drugs simply to permit them to compete – this is simply inhumane and clearly violates human rights, and it will now come to an end. The likes of Caster Semenya, who have not cheated or intentionally manipulated their bodies to gain any sporting advantage, will finally be permitted to compete along with every other competitor to display their sporting prowess through dedication, hard work and of course their natural abilities.

With the IOC held in such high sporting regard, once they have implemented their new framework this will undoubtedly become the benchmark that most sporting bodies will follow, and we should finally see an end to the current unfair, inhumane exclusions that are based more on gender critical beliefs than science. Kirsti has be campaigning tirelessly for precisely these changes, and as she now declares - “The tide has turned people”

 

Link to: Unity in Diversity: IOC emphasises inclusion in sport during LGBTQ Pride Month:

https://olympics.com/ioc/news/unity-in-diversity-ioc-emphasises-inclusion-in-sport-during-lgbtq-pride-month


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