Now trans clash engulfs women's rowing

Now trans clash engulfs women’s rowing as coach calls for the sport to follow World Athletics in banning biological males from competing in events – amid claims umpires at regattas cannot question gender of competitors

  • Jane Sullivan has called for a ban for biological males from female rowing events 

A veteran rowing coach has called for the sport to adopt World Athletics’ approach to transgender women amid growing controversies flooding the sport.

Jane Sullivan, who was the Head of Rowing at the Royal Grammar School Worcester from 2013 to 2020, has called for a ban from female events.

It comes as British Rowing has asked its 31,500 members to vote on their preferred trans policy.

The options are a continuation of the existing policy, a copy of World Rowing’s policy or a ring-fencing of women’s rowing solely for biological females.

In March World Athletics in March decided to exclude transgender athletes from women’s category events.

Trans woman Sarah Gibson, circled, took the position on the team in the same year females were given equal billing to men 

This is understood to be the form that has been sent to British Rowing members to vote

Rules announced by Sebastian Coe, the governing body’s president, say transgender women will be banned from competing in the female category at international athletics events in order to ‘prioritise fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.

The intervention comes after it emerged umpires had been told not to question the gender of junior competitors.

And it was revealed this week that one of the Cambridge 2015 reserve rowing crew was biologically male.

Ms Sullivan said she was in favour of the World Athletics’ approach, adding: ‘It’s the only fair way, really.

Umpires at women’s rowing regattas are unable to question the gender of junior competitors, it was claimed yesterday, prompting fears girls could lose races to male-born transgender rowers (file photo of Henley Regatta last June)

‘It just it seems so obvious to me sitting here as a rower and a coach that I almost think, well, why can’t you see this, it is so obvious that men have a physiological advantage over women, and that we have the sports categories for a reason.

‘We categorise people to allow fairness and in some cases safety,’ she told The Telegraph.

READ MORE: Rowing faces fresh trans row as it is claimed umpires at women’s regattas are unable to question the gender of junior competitors 

A member of the 2015 Cambridge University women’s reserve crew was biologically male, it emerged earlier today.

Trans woman Sarah Gibson took the position on the team in the same year females were given equal billing to men.

Organisers were aware of the rower’s background and decided not to display the schools the team had attended because Gibson’s had been one for boys, The Telegraph reports. 

It was the year women finally given the opportunity to race on the same stretch of the Thames as the men.

Details of the team set-up emerged today but were actually first disclosed in LGBT campaign group Stonewall in 2018.

Meanwhile umpires at women’s rowing regattas are unable to question the gender of junior competitors.

An adviser from the sport’s governing body briefed officials that they should not query the gender of any junior rowers, and that it should not form part of their assessment of fairness.

The rules affect all rowing events in Britain, including next month’s prestigious Henley Women’s Regatta.

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