EPAS Diversity Conference 2021
Council of Europe's EPAS Diversity Conference this year covered the field of sexual orientation and gender identity, focusing on the protection and promotion of the human rights of intersex and transgender athletes. The event, which was held in a hybrid form on September 20, also featured contribution by EUSA.
During the 2021 EPAS Diversity Conference, athletes from the LGBTI community, sports journalists, human rights experts, representatives from the medical world, academics, speakers from sporting bodies and federations, gender equality experts, and other professionals from the sporting community striving for greater inclusion, came together to debate how to protect and promote the human rights of transgender and intersex athletes in sporting competitions.
The event was opened by Roxana Maracineanu, French Minister responsible for Sport and Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy at the Council of Europe, who gave an introduction to the topic. A discussions with a high-profile athlete Annet Negesa and academic expert Mitra Payoshni followed, moderated by journalist Olga Sviridenko, revealing personal experiences of athletes with hight testosterone.
After the discussion, the first plenary roundtable was held, on the topic of biology, gender, sex and sport. The roundtable was moderated Eleni Tsetsekou, Head of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the Council of Europe. The panellists Dr Sonja Erikainen (sport history), Dr Alun Williams (expert on biology and competitive advantage), Chris Mosier (transgender athlete), Hugh Torrance (Co-President of the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation) discussed several topics, including the history of sport relating to intersex and transgender athletes, shortcomings of biological definitions, sport regulations currently in force, with the status quo of intersex/transgender athletes and recognising gender identity in sport.
The second roundtable was dedicated to the protection of human rights while ensuring fair competition rules. Dr Richard Budgett (IOC), Florian Yelin (World Players Association), Kyle Knight (Human Rights Watch) and Dr Carole Oglesby (Women Sport International) discussed the human rights concerns, equal treatment of intersex and transgender athletes and also human rights and anti-discrimination efforts in line with fair competition rules. The roundtable was moderated by Francine Raveney, EPAS Deputy Executive Secretary at the Council of Europe.
Moderated by Michael Trinker, EPAS Project Manager at the Council of Europe, last session highlighted some of the examples of good practice. Andrej Pisl shared the experiences of the European University Sport Association; Dr Payoshni Mitra presented the situation of intersex athletes from Asia and African countries, Natalie Washington presented the Football v Transphobia campaign, Pierre-Jean Vazel shared the importance of allies and inclusion in athletics and Conny-Hendrik Schälicke presented a Charter for Gender Diversity in Sport.
European University Sports Association (EUSA) was represented at the event by its Communications and Projects manager Andrej Pisl who shared the experiences of EUSA and the EUSA Institute in the field of LGBTIQ+ student athletes, and the projects, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in the field of safeguarding: Voices for Truth and Dignity (VOICE) and Halting Harassment and Abuse in Sports using Learning Technologies (HALT); as well as those specifically targeting inclusion and diversity: Rainbow Youth for Sporting Equality (RYSE) and Inclusion in Sport (iSport).
The event closed by the recommendations, summarised by Stanislas Frossard, EPAS Executive Secretary at the Council of Europe.
For the presentations and recording of the event, please see https://www.coe.int/en/web/sport/diversity-conference.