Boris Johnson says transgender women shouldn't compete in women's sport

The Prime Minister recognised his opinion might be 'controversial'

Boris Johnson transgender athletes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given his opinion on transgender athletes in sport, stating he doesn't believe transgender women should compete in women's sport.

While discussing the issue with the BBC (opens in new tab), the Prime Minister suggested he is "immensely sympathetic" to trans people, after stating his personal belief that transgender women shouldn't be allowed to participate in women's sport. 

"I don't think biological males should be competing in female sporting events," Boris Johnson said. "Maybe that's a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible.

"I also happen to think that women should have spaces - whether it's in hospitals, prison or changing rooms - which are dedicated to women. That's as far as my thinking has developed on this issue.

"If that puts me in conflict with some others, then we have got to work it all out. It doesn't mean I'm not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition and it's vital we give people the maximum love and support in making those decisions."

Despite his comments, the PM recognises more work is needed to ensure the inclusivity of all. 

"These are complex issues and they can't be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right."

Johnson's comments come a week after cycling's governing body, the UCI, ruled trans woman cyclist Emily Bridges couldn't compete at the National Omnium Championships last Sunday. 

Bridges was due to take part in the Championships last weekend, but the UCI officially stated the reason her participation was not allowed was because she is still registered with them as a male cyclist, and therefore cannot compete as a woman until her male UCI ID expires.

Bridges has faced intense public scrutiny since Cycling Weekly first published her story last month, and in the intervening period she has "been relentlessly harassed and demonised". 

Public reaction has further raised the issue of inclusivity in sport for transgender athletes, while also focussing on the fairness and safety in women's sport, hence Prime Minister Boris Johnson's comments. 

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.