Parliamentary Secretary for Sports Clifton Grima is in favour of inclusivity when it comes to allowing trans athletes to participate in top-tier sporting events provided that this is in line with international standards.
Earlier this week, Kiwi trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was given the go-ahead to participate in the women’s category of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. She will become the first trans athlete ever to compete.
The news sparked widespread debate on whether it was fair to allow trans women to compete in a women’s category, with critics arguing that it creates an “unfair biological disadvantage” due to increased testosterone levels.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Grima’s office stated they were in favour of inclusivity in all aspects of sports.
“In sports, we see no gender, colour nor race and we strive to keep training and promoting our athletes in the best way possible,” he said.
“Malta is one of the few countries in the world to have made LBGT rights equal at a constitutional level.”
Grima noted however that his secretariat operated independently from the various federations and associations that governed different forms of sport in the country.
“The Parliamentary Secretariat respects the independence of the Maltese Olympic Committee and local sports federations who adhere to standards set up by international bodies with whom they are affiliated,” the ministry said.
Under Malta’s Equality Act, one cannot discriminate against another in relation to the access of goods and services, including sports.
As such, there is nothing barring local trans athletes from participating in a stipulated gender category.
However, according to the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, no transgender athlete has made such a request on a local level.
Local LGBT activist group Allied Rainbow Communities also showed its support towards the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Hubbard to compete in the women’s category at the Summer Games, stating that it was a matter of “skill not genetics.”
“There are no advantages and disadvantages to a trans woman participating in a sport,” said ARC’s Community Manager, Clayton Mercieca.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has also stood by Hubbard and the decision to include her in the Games.
“As well as being among the world’s best for her event, Laurel has met the IWF eligibility criteria, including those based on IOC Consensus Statement guidelines for transgender athletes,” said chief executive Kereyn Smith said.
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