Save Women’s Sport Australasia welcomes the release of further research that shows that the majority of New Zealanders continue to oppose males who identify as transgender women competing in women’s sports.
“We welcome the release by Talbot Mills of their pre-election poll on 14 social policy issues, as the results clearly indicate that despite concerted efforts by both Ministers in the Labour Government and government agencies the New Zealand public sees through the previous government’s activism around gender ideology,” spokeswoman Ro Edge says.
The Talbot-Mills poll found 60% of New Zealanders oppose biological males that identify as female from competing in female sport, with just 14% in support. These results reinforce Save Women’s Sports own independent polling by Curia Research in 2022 and 2023 that also found that the majority New Zealanders support protecting women and girls sport for females only.
“This sends a strong message to the incoming government and National, ACT, and New Zealand First that they should move quickly to clarify and strengthen the already existing provisions in the Human Rights Act 1993 for single sex sport, specifically that the female sports category is for females only.
“This is particularly important given that both the Human Rights Commission and Sport New Zealand have been actively undermining the law by conflating sex and gender identity and telling sports, councils, and other organisations that they cannot exclude males who identify as transgender from sports, services, and facilities intended for females only. This has created a confusion and distress for many sports administrators, coaches, volunteers, women, and girls.”
The new Minister for Sport and Recreation should also require the board of Sport New Zealand to rescind their transgender inclusion guidelines for community sport (which includes competitive and representative level sport) which were pushed by the previous Minister and ignore both the Human Rights Act and the best interests of women and girls.
“New Zealanders don’t want males who identify as women competing against women. They want sport to be fair, they want it to be safe, and they want females to have opportunities to compete for prizes, placings, and prestige, and that is exactly what we want and are working so hard for.”
Some sports have moved to protect the elite female category from male participation. Cycling New Zealand recently updated its Transgender Policy to align with its world governing body that earlier this year banned male transgender athletes, who transitioned after male puberty, from participating in elite women’s events. International swimming, rugby, and triathlon bodies have also made similar decisions at the elite level.
“These decisions are based on the clear scientific evidence that men have athletic performance advantages over women. As such, the female category should be protected from birth and apply to all single sex sporting categories. Science shows that advantage for males starts in the womb and we believe the female category should be protected at all levels. So, there’s still plenty of work to do.”
Ms Edge says this doesn’t prevent males who identify as transgender or non-binary from participating in sport, as they can compete in the male, mixed sex, or open categories. “We recognise the importance of the physical, mental and social benefits of sport which should be accessible to all people. It’s important that people who identify as transgender or non-binary are not excluded from sport but inclusion needs to be on the basis of the reality of sex, not an internal gender identity.”
On a related question, the poll also found 50% of New Zealanders opposed biological males who identified as women from using women only bathrooms, with just 21% in support.