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Letter to US Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

31st May 2023

Re: Fairness in Women’s Hang Gliding & Paragliding


The International Consortium on Female Sport (ICFS) includes representation from across the world. We are elite athletes and coaches, academics and scientists, and legal and human rights experts. We call on USHPA, and its member and state associations, to eliminate discrimination against female pilots, and restore fairness to the female category in hang gliding and paragliding.

In developing your policy for transgender and gender diverse players in 2019, we understand that you consulted with your community over Facebook. However, given a very high percentage of your pilots are male, and therefore unimpacted by your policy, and most women are scared to voice their concerns publicly, we are concerned that your female pilots’ voices have not been heard.

Your current transgender policy acknowledges that size is a potential advantage in hang gliding and paragliding, but then goes on to state that ‘pilots, regardless of gender, already come in all sizes and weights.’ This ignores the scientific, biological differences between men and women which are so large they would render women irrelevant in elite-level sport, which is why separate categories for males and females exist. The male advantage is not limited to their size and weight, either. They are approximately 30-40% stronger, and 15-20% faster - neither of which is mitigated by testosterone reduction. These differences in physical attributes give them a significant performance advantage over their female counterparts in your sport, therefore weight-based classes should not replace the women’s class.

Transgender competitors in paragliding should be welcomed, but into an “open” class, something we understand is already available in your sport. This alternative provides the obvious solution to the inclusion your sport seeks.

Unfortunately, the result of your policy has seen a male who identifies as transgender ensuring the already small group of female competitors lose opportunities to podium, and now to hold accurate female world rankings at the FAI Paragliding World Champs currently happening in France.

ICFS calls on the USHPA to reconsider Competition Pilot Gender Policy and

consult with both the ICFS to ensure scientific accuracy and to include the voice of your female competitors in this matter so that better options for inclusion can be found.

Strict guidelines that protect the integrity of the women’s category and fairness for the female pilots must be adopted. Eligibility for the women’s category must be restricted to those who are biologically female. Otherwise, the women’s competition will cease to exist. Under your current policy, the women’s category essentially becomes a mixed sex or open category where female athletes will become a dwindling cohort.

On behalf of female hang gliders and paragliders from around the USA and the world who are concerned for their fairness, safety, and opportunities in your sport, we urge you to take this moment to reconsider and protect the women’s category for future generations of female participants. We ask that you find better options for inclusion that don’t come at the potential exclusion for over 50% of the population.

The inclusion of male-born hang gliders and paragliders in the female category is unacceptable and must end.

ICFS experts are happy to collaborate with you in good faith to help formulate a way forward.

Yours in Sport,

Founding Members, ICFS


1 comentario

04 jun 2023

Men's class , Women's class & Open class for those Confused. 😉

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