Sporting Pride respond to Sonia O'Sullivan opinion piece on Trans athletes

O'Sullivan penned an article for the Irish Times titled 'Transgender Athletes Cannot be Allowed to Compete in Women’s Sport'.

A female runner tying her laces on a track

Sporting Pride is both shocked and disappointed to read the recent opinion piece by Irish Olympic hero Sonia O’Sullivan discussing Transgender women in sport.

Transgender athletes, such as Lia Thomas, have met the standards to compete that were set by their sport’s governing body, as have all Transgender athletes who are openly competing in a range of sports. The issue of fairness is often raised in conversations around the participation of Trans women – but the experience of those women is never considered and those most affected by these conversations are excluded.

We strongly encourage interested parties to seek out voices that share independent facts and information, arguing against the growing sentiment of exclusion for Trans people in sport. Pink Mantaray’s highly informative and fact-based article on Lia Thomas is a fantastic resource that provides insight into the facts around Lia’s success, as well as providing well-informed information on the biological diversity that exists across all demographics.

A lack of education is behind a lot of anti-Trans rhetoric. Sporting Pride would be delighted to facilitate a meeting between Sonia O’Sullivan and members of the Trans community in Ireland who play sport to try and understand the issues they face. Education is crucial if we want to move forward and ensure that the world of sport remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and/or other diverse backgrounds.

About Sporting Pride

Sporting Pride is the recognised sports association for the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland, whose mission is to inspire the LGBTQ+ community to get active.

Working closely with Sport Ireland, 60+ National Governing Bodies (NGBs), 29 Local Sport Partnerships (LSPs), third level institutions and the LGBTQ+ sport clubs profiled here, Sporting Pride aims to:

  • increase the number of LGBTQ+ people leading active lives; and
  • promote the positive benefits of fitness and exercise to one’s physical and mental health and well-being.

We want to help sporting organisations develop inclusive programmes that will continue breaking down barriers, increase participation rates and make sport in Ireland a safe and welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community at all levels, whether players, supporters, coaches, officials or volunteers.

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