Francophone minister supports creation of special category for female transgender athletes

Francophone minister supports creation of special category for female transgender athletes
Sports Minister of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Valérie Glatigny (MR). Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

The Sports Minister of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Valérie Glatigny (MR), has expressed her support for the creation of a special category for female transgender athletes, Belga News Agency reports. Her comments precede an imminent World Athletics (WA) ban on transgender women participating in international women's athletics competitions.

After being questioned during a plenary session of the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation by Thierry Witsel (PS) on the ban — which is set to enter into force on Friday — Glatigny indicated on Wednesday that she intended to contact the Belgian Francophone Athletics League (la Ligue Belge Francophone d'Athlétisme) to ask it to consider creating a specific category for female transgender athletes.

Last week, World Athletics (WA) President Sebastian Coe announced that "male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty" would be prohibited from competing in international women's athletics competitions from 31 March.

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"Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations," Coe said.

He added that a working group will be set up to conduct further research into the future eligibility of female transgender athletes in women's athletics competitions. "We're not saying no forever," he said.

WA's decision was widely denounced by transgender activist groups. "Such policies risk violating international human rights principles of non-discrimination, which require such policies to start from a place of inclusion unless an exclusion can be justified as proportionate to any risks identified," Anna Brown, the CEO of Equality Australia, told CNN.

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