Trans goalkeeper who used to play men's football selected for England Universities' women's side

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A six-foot trans woman who used to play men’s football has been signed up as a goalkeeper for the England Universities’ female side.

In the latest example of a growing trend in elite sport, Blair Hamilton, 32 – who is also lead investigator of the Tavistock Transgender Athlete Study – will take one of the coveted spots in the national squad within weeks.

The player, who was born male but identifies as female, was selected after impressive displays for Hastings United Football Club women’s team in East Sussex, known as the ‘Us’.

Last Wednesday, the team tweeted: ‘The ‘Us’ are delighted to announced that [Blair Hamilton] has been selected for the England Universities Sport Women’s Squad!’ 

A six-foot trans woman who used to play men's football has been signed up as a goalkeeper for the England Universities' female side. In the latest example of a growing trend in elite sport, Blair Hamilton (above - on the pitch with Hastings United), 32 – who is also lead investigator of the Tavistock Transgender Athlete Study – will take one of the coveted spots in the national squad within weeks

A six-foot trans woman who used to play men’s football has been signed up as a goalkeeper for the England Universities’ female side. In the latest example of a growing trend in elite sport, Blair Hamilton (above – on the pitch with Hastings United), 32 – who is also lead investigator of the Tavistock Transgender Athlete Study – will take one of the coveted spots in the national squad within weeks

Demonstrating her excitement, Hamilton – a PhD student at Brighton University – responded that she was ‘buzzing for this’.

But last night, the controversial appointment was already causing ructions. 

Maya Forstater, of Sex Matters, which campaigns for ‘clarity’ on women-only services and spaces, said: ‘Women will lose out from being on the squad and will also potentially be put under pressure not to speak up about it.’

The news follows last week’s Mail on Sunday report revealing that Emily Bridges – a cyclist who won medals at university level racing as a man before transitioning – has announced she will start competing in female events.

The Tavistock clinic is the unofficial name of the NHS’s principal gender identity development service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London. 

Hamilton’s main research interest is ‘the effects of testosterone suppression or supplementation on the athletic performance of transgender athletes’, according to a personal profile page on the university’s website.

Hamilton (above), who was born male but identifies as female, was selected after impressive displays for Hastings United Football Club women's team in East Sussex, known as the 'Us'

Hamilton (above), who was born male but identifies as female, was selected after impressive displays for Hastings United Football Club women’s team in East Sussex, known as the ‘Us’

Before that, she studied exercise and health at Aberdeen University, playing for its men’s football team.

In a video posted online last year, Hamilton told of her struggle with gender identity. ‘I didn’t fit in,’ she said. ‘I knew obviously that I wasn’t a man… so I was out of place.’

During spring 2018, she started training with Aberdeen University’s women’s team after they told her: ‘You don’t belong there, why don’t you come here? Why don’t you play women’s football?’

Hamilton, a Rangers-supporting Scot who later moved to Brighton to study, joined the Hastings side a year ago. 

Last night, club chairman Billy Wood said: ‘It’s a touchy subject, but Blair’s not one that shies away [from controversy]. And nor are we as a football club.’

The news follows last week's Mail on Sunday report revealing that Emily Bridges (above) – a cyclist who won medals at university level racing as a man before transitioning – has announced she will start competing in female events

The news follows last week’s Mail on Sunday report revealing that Emily Bridges (above) – a cyclist who won medals at university level racing as a man before transitioning – has announced she will start competing in female events

In her academic work, Hamilton has disputed trans women have an advantage in sports, arguing that testosterone-lowering drugs reduce muscle quality and quantity to result in a level playing field.

Last September, the UK’s Sports Council Equality Group published guidance concluding ‘that the inclusion of transgender people into female sport cannot be balanced regarding transgender inclusion, [and] fairness and safety [to women]’ in sports where sex-based physiology causes performance differences.

This is because trans women benefit from retained physical advantages thanks to male puberty, even if they later take testosterone suppressants.

The Mail on Sunday attempted to contact Hamilton, but she declined to comment.

Amateur women and girls across Britain are ‘quitting sport’ after facing male-bodied opponents, claim campaigners

By SANCHEZ MANNING for the Mail on Sunday 

Women and girls across Britain are dropping out of recreational sport because they are being pressured to compete against transgender women who are biologically male, according to a leading campaign group for female sports.

There is already controversy over ‘trans’ sportswomen competing in elite female competitions.

But Fair Play For Women has established that it is also affecting grassroots and amateur sport, with many participants feeling pressured to remain silent.

Last night Fiona McAnena, director of sport campaigns at FPFW, which has lobbied to keep women’s sports single- sex, warned: ‘If you think this is a very small problem, think again.

‘This issue is hitting women’s sport right across the UK, and sadly it is pushing some women to completely drop out.

Cyclist Bo Novak (above), said she has stopped attending women-only road-cycling sessions when a trans woman led the group she joined in South West England

Cyclist Bo Novak (above), said she has stopped attending women-only road-cycling sessions when a trans woman led the group she joined in South West England

‘Especially for teenage girls, just knowing that there is a trans woman at their club can be enough to put them off going for fear of an embarrassing encounter in the changing room or toilet.’

A dossier compiled by FPFW includes testimony from a female hockey player in an amateur London league who walked off the pitch when given the task of marking a transgender opponent.

‘The person was 6ft 4in and had an Adam’s apple,’ she said. ‘Every time I was going for the ball, the transgender woman was far faster and after a few minutes I just took myself off.

‘I was in tears. I came to play against a female opposition and there was a male on the pitch. I just felt the sense of fairness was not there.’ She felt unable to complain in case she was branded a ‘transphobe’.

Women and girls across Britain are dropping out of recreational sport because they are being pressured to compete against transgender women who are biologically male, according to a leading campaign group for female sports. (Posed by model)

Women and girls across Britain are dropping out of recreational sport because they are being pressured to compete against transgender women who are biologically male, according to a leading campaign group for female sports. (Posed by model)

A parent and cricket coach from the South of England told FPFW he was concerned about the safety of girls, one as young as 12, asked to play against a team containing a trans woman. 

‘As father to these girls (aged 14 and 16) I find that unacceptable, uncomfortable and dangerous, both morally and physically,’ he wrote.

Cyclist Bo Novak, said she has stopped attending women-only road-cycling sessions when a trans woman led the group she joined in South West England.

‘It was advertised as leisure rides for women in small groups led by a woman,’ said Ms Novak, 55. ‘But a male-bodied person was leading the group, not just taking part. He was much stronger than the rest of us and went too fast.’

Her complaints were ignored, she says, so she dropped out.

Members of a women’s ‘walking football’ club for older and less mobile players, in which no running is allowed, also revealed their dismay when a trans woman joined.

A whistleblower at the Lancashire club said: ‘The person was a 60-year-old with a male body, but they had French plaits, dangly earrings and long fingernails. Some of us were in shock but felt we were not allowed to say anything.’

The charity running the club later told the group that they had to accept the transgender player or leave.

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