A transgender woman is now allowed to play in a regional darts tournament next weekend after organisers made a U-turn on their decision to ban her from the event.
Clubs New Zealand Darts Association has advised organisers that the woman can play, but a final call on her future inclusion in the sport would be decided at an annual meeting next month.
Vee, who asked to keep her surname anonymous due to privacy concerns, was advised of the decision on Friday.
She said she is elated.
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Originally, Vee was told she was unable to compete because Clubs NZ don’t have a transgender policy. Events were divided into men’s and women’s competition.
Vee is recognised legally as a woman, and legally should have been able to enter the women’s competition.
She made the decision to transition more than a year ago, having felt different since childhood.
While Vee was much happier now that she has transitioned, she said the initial exclusion from the darts tournament had been hurtful.
Association president, Duncan Ellis, said Thursday that he supported Vee’s right to play, but it had to be put to a vote at the national meeting on July 9.
“Most certainly, I think she should be allowed to play,” he said. “I have a gay cousin. I’ve not got any problem with her competing. I fully support it.
“But we have to follow our policy, and discuss it with the board and our members.”
Vee hasn’t played in a darts tournament for four years, formerly playing in men’s competition and being nationally ranked.
Clubs NZ is the only association running darts tournaments in New Zealand that doesn’t have a transgender policy.
The Professional Darts Corporation, PDC, has an open policy with men and women, including transgender people, competing against each other.
The New Zealand Darts Council follows World Darts Federation rules, with transgender women having to prove lower testosterone levels and female identification to compete.
David Rutherford, a special adviser to the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, said Clubs NZ’s final decision on transgender inclusion had to abide by New Zealand law.
”There is an exception for sport,” Rutherford said. “It says nothing in the [Human Rights Act] should prevent the exclusion of persons of one sex from participation in any competitive sporting activity in which strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant.”
“I don’t know enough about darts, but on the face of it, [strength, stamina and physique] isn’t important.”
The West Coast Championship is a regional tournament for clubs on the West Coast of the North Island, and runs next weekend in Palmerston North.
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