Shane Te Pou (NZ Herald, June 23) reveals himself as another man advocating to undermine fair competition and safety for female athletes under the guise of "inclusion".
Worse, he claims ignorance as to the science of physiology and biology of the sexes while also comparing the professionals and experts involved with the Fédération Internationale De Natation (Fina) decision to the quasi-race-based science of eugenics.
The decision to publish this cannot go unchallenged. As a former elite female athlete who represented New Zealand, I am more qualified to comment on the subject of male athletic advantage than Te Pou will ever be.
Male athletic advantage begins in the womb and is supercharged by a testosterone-based puberty, endowing advantages that cannot be reversed by testosterone suppression later in life. This includes, in general, larger hearts and lungs, greater muscle mass, higher blood oxygenation, skeletal differences, and greater grip strength than comparable female athletes.
Women are not small men, we are not men with lower testosterone, we are our own sex.
Sports categories are by their very nature exclusionary for reasons of fair and meaningful competition and safety with separation usually done by age, sex, and/or weight.
Te Pou is not decrying that 30-year-old men are excluded from playing 12-year-old boys, nor that heavy-weight boxers are excluded from the feather-weight category.
No, it's just female athletes that he demands should roll over and make space for the opposite sex.
Te Pou claims that Fina's decision not to allow swimmers who have experienced male puberty to compete in elite women's categories further victimises the most marginalised and oppressed.
Let us be clear, a white male Ivy League swimmer born to privilege who could not crack the top 200 when competing in men's competition but wins a national championship against a silver Olympic medalist when "included" in a women's team is neither marginalised nor oppressed. Nor is a white male weightlifter, child of a multi-millionaire, who displaced a woman of colour from an Olympic spot.
All athletes know the benefits that sport provides to mental and physical well-being. We all want transgender people to be able to access sport, but it should not be by demanding that women include males in their categories.
Fina's intention to progress the creation of an "open" category is a decision to be applauded, not maligned by the uninformed.
It is also one that should be followed by Sport NZ in community sport.
Instead, it seems determined to advocate for any male who says that he "identifies" as a woman to be entitled to play in that category, even without any form of medical transition.
As for Te Pou's comparison of the professionals, scientists and experts involved in analysing the evidence that informed Fina's decision to quasi-race-based "science" of
eugenics and the Holocaust, he owes both them and New Zealand's Jewish Community an
• Candice Riley represented New Zealand in rowing and went on to compete in multisport and endurance events professionally during more than 20 years participating and competing in sport from community to international elite level.