Olympic hero’s defiant stand amid transgender debate

Australia’s most decorated Olympian of all time, swimming superstar Emma McKeon, has made it clear she’s against transgender athletes competing in women’s sport, declaring “it’s just not fair”.

The trans-in-sport debate raging in Australia is more intense than ever because of the federal election campaign by Liberal candidate Katherine Deves, who’s copped backlash for comparing her activism for women’s sport to protesting against the Holocaust.

McKeon weighed in on the debate at Griffith University’s A Better Future for All seminar this week.

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“I personally wouldn’t want to be racing against someone who is biologically a male, so that’s a concern,” McKeon said.

“It’s not a new thing, but it’s new in that sport, swimming, are going to have to deal with it.”

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard sparked debate when she competed in women’s weightlifting at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

More recently, Lia Thomas of the USA became the first known transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming title when she took out the 500m freestyle.

On Australian shores, the AFL hasn’t allowed Hannah Mouncey to compete in the AFLW, resulting in the former Australian men’s national handball player taking the AFL to court.

McKeon says she doesn’t think she’ll race against transgender athletes in her career but admitted it had become a major point of contention.

“I don’t think it’s going to come to that point,” McKeon said.

“But now that it’s a growing thing, the sport has to think about how to handle it and how to deal with it, because you do want to be inclusive, but you don’t want to have females racing against swimmers who are biologically male, because it’s just not fair.”

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