By a wide margin, elite female athletes have rejected the idea of allowing male-bodied athletes to compete in their women’s sport.

This comes from a Sport Canada commissioned report which the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) think tank managed to obtain via an Access to Information request.

Ottawa’s initial attempts to obstruct the release of the report so critical of its policy is likely due to this blatant rejection by female athletes.

The report, Canadian High-Performance Female Athletes’ Voices: Transgender Inclusion in Elite and Olympic Sport Guidelines, was the first attempt in Canada to consult the women living with the consequences of the new policies that “rank transgender inclusion as more important than safety, fairness, and equality of the sexes.”

In a new MLI commentary by Linda Blade, a prominent coach, leader in the female sport community and a former high-performance track-and-field athlete, looks at the report that provides a deep study of the attitudes of 25 current or former elite female athletes who speak about how this policy exchange affected them and their colleagues.

And it is not even close.

First, 91.7% of the female athletes interviewed agreed that female athletes should have the right to compete in dedicated female sport categories in sex-affected sports.

And, when considering the scientific evidence, 88% agree that transwomen (biological males) have a competitive advantage over females.

Plus, 88% of respondents also disagreed when asked if gender identities are more important than biological sex when deciding eligibility in high performance sports.

It was that one-sided.

As Blade concludes, the survey shows that “most of the athletes consider biological sex to be more important than gender identity in eligibility criteria for high-performance sport categories.”

“They feel they have not been consulted, that their voices are often dismissed, and that they are unable to speak about this policy area without being called transphobic. They voice considerable sadness, distress, frustration, fear, and anger,” she wrote

According to Blade, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) bears responsibility for enabling the current policy mess.

Despite its primary mandate being to spread the anti-doping message, the CCES implored national sports organizations (NSOs) to include male-born persons in the female category based upon self-identified gender status alone.

“Compliance by NSOs has only resulted in a hitherto unknown form of sex discrimination that is both painful and difficult to understand,” said Blade.

In 2021, a relatable MLI poll revealed significant findings regarding Canadians’ views on gender identity and women’s sport that confirm the results of the Sport Canada-commissioned survey report.

By wide margins, Canadians support traditional sex-based categories for competitive sport, believing that allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s competitive events is “unfair.”

The poll also showed that three times as many Canadians believe it is “right” for men and women to compete separately from each other, compared to those who think separate gender categories are “wrong” in sport (56% versus 18%).

Blade has three recommendations for Sports Canada:

Formally withdraw the CCES transgender guidelines;
Overhaul the CCES and ensure that it gets back to focusing on its original mandate; and
Undertake a broad consultation process to create new guidelines for a fair and balanced accommodation of both biological sex and gender identity in Canadian sports.

The findings of this Sports Canada report should come as a surprise to no one.
Canadians, by and large, respect level playing fields, not jerry-rigged changes to feed the latest political-correctness-of-the-day.

Understanding transgender needs and wants is akin to learning a new and very complicated language.

Not everyone has an ear for it.


  • Mark Bonokoski

    Mark Bonokoski is a member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame and has been published by a number of outlets – including the Toronto Sun, Maclean’s and Readers’ Digest.