By Laura Stone
Dec 5, 2012
A Conservative MP wants to amend an opposition private member’s bill on transgender rights to exempt sport organizations from discrimination if they ban athletes from competing.
Edmonton MP Brent Rathgeber wants NDP Randall Garrison’s Bill C-279 — which would make it illegal to discriminate against transgendered Canadians and to disseminate hate on the basis of someone’s gender identity or expression — to exclude all Canadian sport organizations from the gender identity “claim” if the organizations determine through eligibility criteria that a transgendered athlete cannot compete.
“I’m not saying that they couldn’t allow an individual to compete, I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be automatically discriminatory if they decided that it would be inappropriate,” Rathgeber said.
In an interview, Rathgeber explained why sports groups should be exempt from the bill.
“What I’m envisioning, a male for example, my size or possibly bigger, who actually goes through gender reassignment surgery, and then wants to compete in, let’s say women’s wrestling or women’s shot put,” said the MP, who is well above 6 feet tall.
“That would be wrong and I think a person my size would be at an advantage competing in women’s sport if the sport deals with strength or stamina, (and) I think it is generally accepted that men have more strength and stamina,” he said.
“Conversely, a sport that requires flexibility and agility, I think generally speaking women are at an advantage, and I think it would be equally inappropriate for a person who’s gone through that to be able to compete against people who are formally of the opposite sex.”
Rathgeber also wants the bill to include a medical diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” because the terms identity and expression are too broad.