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Robertson’s ‘invisible enemy’ is there in growing number of sports

As former Sports Minister Grant Robertson departs Parliament, he described those working hard to protect the female category in women’s sports as “warriors for safety in pursuit of an invisible enemy”.

Save Women’s Sport Australasia Spokeswoman Ro Edge says it’s not the first time Robertson has sought to target people who disagree with his ideology that men who self-identify as women should be included in women’s sport.  As the Minister who oversaw the release of Sport New Zealand’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender people in sport, which allowed for just that, Robertson has previously stated that those opposed were “petty and small-minded”.

In his valedictory speech to Parliament, Robertson said he was concerned at the way those in the trans community had been the subject of increasing hatred, bigotry and lies. “I saw this especially in the sports portfolio. People with absolutely no care for women’s sport suddenly became warriors for safety in pursuit of an invisible enemy," he said.

Ms Edge says the comments illustrate ignorance and indifference to those women (and men) that recognise it is unfair, not right, and unsafe for males who self-identify as women to be included in women’s sport.  And it’s an absolute insult to those who give voluntarily of their time to protect the integrity of the female category in sport.  Something Robertson seems to have been intent on undermining. 

Having coached and managed sports teams, as well as run a regional sports organisation that became a fast growing women’s sport, Ms Edge has a daughter that has represented New Zealand in sport and is proud to have a female Olympian family member. 

SWSA’s other Spokeswoman, Candice Riley is a former NZ elite rower and professional endurance athlete who has had a number of coach and volunteer roles. She is actively involved in community sport and is fighting to protect the rights of females to have the same fairness and opportunities as she did.

SWSA patron, Lorraine Moller MBE, is a four-time Olympian, Boston Marathon winner and forerunner for equality in women’s athletics.  “Our concerns have always been for the participation and inclusion of women and girls at all levels of sport. I would have expected that an (ex) NZ Minister of Sport would champion females and encourage their fair participation in their own category. Sadly Grant Robertson has not been willing to engage in any constructive dialogue with those of us with genuine concern for the future of women’s sports. Clearly he is not interested in women at all” says Moller.

SWSA is a grass roots organisation made up purely of volunteers who receive no tax payer funding.  

“Grant Robertson may believe females are fighting an ‘invisible enemy’, however, that is no longer the case. Those who identified the risk of policies and guidelines that ignored male advantage in female sport saw this coming. Now the public see it too. They see it at primary school, at intermediate and high school, in community sport and at the elite level.  And in a growing number of sports. 

“Biological sex categories were set up to ensure maximum inclusion, while providing as fair competition as possible. Allowing male advantage into the female category is not inclusion, it is delusion,” Ms Edge says. 

“Sport New Zealand, through the development of its transgender guidelines at Grant Robertson’s direction added to this delusion, prioritising the feelings of a small but growing number of males who identify as females, over the feelings, fairness, safety and opportunities of half the population.”

Females in New Zealand deserve better. 



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