Transgender Woman Allowed To Play Darts Tournament After Organizer U-turn

Vee, a transgender woman, has now been admitted to the field for the West Coast Darts Championship.  (File photo)

Letter from Virginia Woolf/Nelson

Vee, a transgender woman, has now been admitted to the field for the West Coast Darts Championship. (File photo)

A transgender woman is now allowed to take part in a regional darts tournament next weekend after organizers reversed their decision to ban her from the event.

Clubs New Zealand Darts Association informed organizers 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 last name anonymous due to privacy concerns, was made aware of the decision on Friday.

She said she was delighted.

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Originally, Vee was told she couldn’t compete because NZ clubs didn’t have a transgender policy. The events were divided into men’s and women’s competition.

Vee is legally recognized as a woman and should have been legally able to compete in the women’s competition.

She made the decision to transition over a year ago, feeling different since childhood.

Although Vee is much happier now that she has made the transition, she said the initial ban from the darts tournament was hurtful.

Clubs New Zealand Darts Association does not have a transgender policy, but will form one next month.  (File photo)

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Clubs New Zealand Darts Association does not have a transgender policy, but will form one next month. (File photo)

Association president Duncan Ellis said Thursday that he supports Vee’s right to play, but that it must be put to a vote at the July 9 national meeting.

“Most definitely, I think she should be allowed to play,” he said. “I have a gay cousin. I have no problem with his competition. I fully support him.

“But we have to follow our policy and discuss it with the board and our members.”

Vee has not played in a darts tournament in four years, previously playing in the men’s competition and being nationally ranked.

Clubs NZ is the only association running darts tournaments in New Zealand that does not 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, special adviser to the Center for Sport and Human Rights, said Clubs NZ’s final decision on transgender inclusion had to comply with New Zealand law.

“There is an exception for sport,” Rutherford said. “He doesn’t say anything in the [Human Rights Act] should prevent the exclusion of persons of one gender from participation in any competitive sporting activity in which the strength, endurance or physique of the competitors is relevant.”

“I don’t know enough about darts, but at first glance, [strength, stamina and physique] is not important.

The West Coast Championship is a regional tournament for clubs from the West Coast of the North Island and takes place next weekend in Palmerston North.

Teresa E. Burton