Tuesday 3 October 2023

Biological males banned from women's international fishing events after team refuses to compete with trans-identifying teammate: 'It's unfair'

 A global sporting body recently decided to bar biological males from competing in women's international fishing competitions, calling it "absolutely discriminatory," the Telegraph reported.

Emma Harriet Nicholson, member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, received a letter on Friday from the Confédération Internationale de la Pêche Sportive, the international sport fishing confederation, declaring that transgender-identifying individuals would no longer be able to compete in some women's events. 

The president of the confederation, Prof. Ugo Claudio Matteoli, wrote in the letter that the sporting body had recently met in Rome, Italy, to discuss the participation of transgender-identifying athletes in women's competitions.

"In line with the recent debates wondering around the question whether it is fair to let transgender [sic] participate in female competitions, we have finally concluded that this eventuality is absolutely discriminatory, especially in those disciplines where the physical strength can make a difference," Matteoli stated.

"Therefore, in the impossibility for CIPS to test the testosterone level at each competition and at each athlete, it is decided to prevent transgender athletes from competing in some female dedicated competitions since this moment on," the letter added. 

Matteoli noted that participants' birth certificates may be required to register in instances when there is "doubt on the sex of the competitor." He noted that this would only apply to events "where a higher physical strength can help." 

Disciplines impacted by the confederation's new rule include long casting of sea weights, shore angling, carp fishing, and fly fishing.

A week prior to the sporting body's decision, England's entire female team refused to compete in November's Shore Angling World Championship in Sicily after a trans-identifying individual, Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges, was selected to compete with the women.

Hodges, a biological male, is a former rugby player who can reportedly cast a fishing line at least twice as far as many of the female competitors.

A few months before, the six-member crew team also refused to compete in the home nations competition after Hodges was given a place on the team.

One of the team members, Heather, told the Daily Mail, "Although Becky Lee would be an asset to my team, it's unfair on everyone else. And if you win in a situation like that, you can't enjoy the victory, because it feels like you've cheated."

"It's a shame because the other girls would have applied for the World Championships if Becky Lee hadn't been involved," Heather added.

The team's captain reportedly felt "humiliated" when the group won bronze in the 2018 world championships with Hodges on the team.

The director of sport at Fair Play For Women, Fiona McAnens, stated, "These women know they would have an unfair advantage if they went to the world championships with a male in their team, and they've chosen to make a stand for fairness for all women. That takes courage."

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