With the approach of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in July, the media started to show footage of women's competitions in which male-born athletes also participate - and almost always win, thanks to the guidelines drawn up by an all-male group of the International Olympic Committee which provide as only criterion is self-identification with 'female gender identity' and a lowered testosterone level.
The images of these tall, muscular bodies, with a build that despite the breasts, pink jumpsuits, lipstick and red nail varnish remains unmistakably masculine, are jumping out at you and opening up a debate about the legitimacy of allowing male athletes to compete with women.
Faced with the clear advantage of the male 'ultracorps' in women's sports, much of the audience asked: what do female athletes think? Why don't they rebel en masse?
In fact, Italian sporting news has given great prominence to the story of Valentina Petrillo, "the first transgender athlete running to qualify for Tokyo 2020" (see here e here), but female athletes have been made invisible, with a few exceptions.
Despite this press blackout, Italian women athletes rebelled and expressed their indignation not by deserting the competitions, but by taking legal action, for the fact that they were deprived of fair competition.
L'Lawyer and Italian athletics champion Mariuccia Fausta Quilleri represents 24 female athletes. who have signed a petition to request that male-born transgender athletes be admitted to women's competitions exclusively out of competition.
The athletes first of all contest the lack of scientific basis - as well as lack of legal validity - of the IOC guidelinesas has been proven by numerous studiesof which the most comprehensive is perhaps that of Dr Emma Hilton and Dr Tommy Lundberg published in " The World's Least Developed Countries ".Sports Medicine'. (see here).
Furthermore, they claim that the admission of male bodies in women's competitions constitutes a violation of Article 1 of the Code for equal opportunities between men and women, which," writes Ms Quilleri, "obliges absolute, inviolable and indispensable respect for the female physical individuality".
The petition was sent on 3 May to the President of the Italian Athletics Federation Stefano Mei, the Minister for Equal Opportunities Elena Bonetti and the Undersecretary of State for Sport Valentina Vezzali.. After more than a month, none of these authorities has yet responded.
Athletes who have signed the petition include Cristina Sanulli e Denise Neumannwhich competed with Petrillo at the Italian masters championships in Arezzo in October 2020 -seen in the opening photo- and that the journalist who interviewed them said that felt they 'did not compete on equal terms'. (see here).
Sanulli and Neumann continued to train and race, and at the Italian indoor championships in Ancona in March 2021 they had a chance for a rematch. In the 200 metre indoor race Cristina Sanulli still managed, despite her shorter stature and female body, to beat Petrillo in sprinting and came first, and Valentina second, despite having all the technical advantages provided by a body that has experienced male puberty: the longer stride, bigger heart, feet and lungs, higher maximum oxygen consumption per muscle contraction (VO2max), stronger tendons, and much more.
On Friday 11 June on RadFem Italia's youtube channel, at 7pm, we will meet Mariuccia Fausta Quilleri. Follow the meeting!
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