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Andy Baetens claims historic Lakeside crown as Beau Greaves retains women’s world title

Deta Hedman calls for ban on transgender participants in women’s darts events

Jamie Shaw in WDF Darts 12 Dec 2023
Deta Hedman in action (Photo by Chris Sargeant/Tip Top pics)

Deta Hedman has spoken out over the involvement of transgender participants in women’s darts events, insisting they should not be allowed to compete in that category.

Hedman, a stalwart of women’s darts for more than five decades, published a lengthy statement on Facebook on Tuesday, offering her honest and unwavering view on the subject.

This comes after Victoria Monaghan became the first transgender person to feature in the Women’s World Championship at Lakeside last week.

Monaghan, who was beaten in straight sets by Suzanne Smith in the First Round, followed in the footsteps of Noa-Lynn van Leuven – who became the first trans woman to play in a televised darts tournament at the Women’s World Matchplay in July.

Hedman, a multiple major champion and three-time Women’s World Championship finalist, believes the inclusion of transgender players is “damaging” to women’s darts and has opened up on her interactions with other female players and event organisers on the matter.

She wrote: ‘I was never going to post this before or during Lakeside as to me that’s the most important women’s event there is. For many months I’ve struggled with Transgenders playing in the Women’s world ranked events.

‘For years since the late 1980’s myself and others fought to get better recognition for women’s darts and having our own World Championships with little success. The nearest we got was 1995 when the then BDO allowed 10 women to enter the Embassy world play offs. One of the reasons I packed up in 1997 was I felt little future for the ladies, it wasn’t until Trina Gulliver accepted an invitation to appear in the PDC World Championships that the BDO decided to hold a ladies championship, the first event featured just four ladies, which rose to eight until 2014 when it went up to 16 ladies.

‘I believe it was 2013 when the winner went up to £10,000 but the runner up was £2,000. At its peak it was £12,000 and £5,000 runner-up. To get to this level was an effort and we fought for every single gain we got! We got the format raised to five sets, I remember the Final with Lisa Ashton where we played all 5 sets WITHOUT a break, the men would have been in uproar having to face that.

‘Then the WDF stepped up to the plate and Ladies top prize went up to £25,000, and whilst on the WDF board myself and others got the agreement for the first ever Girls World Championship which I’m very proud of. So after years of struggle women got the right to showcase their skills on the world stage.

‘Then came the acceptance of trans women being allowed to play in Women’s sports by WDF, PDC, county darts and independent events . I have thought this is wrong since day one, I have no problem with Transgenders in life, I’m not close to Noa-Lynn in darts but in fairness seems a lovely person, at Lakeside I met Victoria Monaghan and must admit she is a right character we had banter and a fair few laughs at lakeside, but my personal view is trans shouldn’t be playing in Women’s ranked events.

‘This has been mentioned at board meetings but everybody in all organisations are worried of legal challenges and they needed scientific proof a trans has an advantage of a biological women who the woke brigade call a CIS woman.

‘With that in mind I contacted Dr Linda Duffy nee Batten who was the no.1 woman in the world and whose talent never got to play in a women’s World Championship (although Winmau masters was our World Championship). Linda has had articles published showing exactly why trans players have advantages over Biological women, especially when they have gone through puberty as a male! This without the Women’s curse of menstrual cycles, Peri menopause, menopause, fibroids, hormone surges pre and post natal, endometriosis etc these problems are all faced by the so called CIS women and a trans athletes will never face.

‘I know these side effects personally fibroids I suffered with so badly at times I could be the bitch from hell, eventually I had to have surgery which took away my chance to have kids, I had suffered so badly I was just glad my problems were over! But no I still suffer effects of menopause including Sweats, nausea and lack of concentration.

‘In my opinion those (mainly men) who say no reasons why women can’t play as well as men are talking out of their rear end. Inclusivity seems to be the key word, this has been used by PDC and their backing of rainbow laces, Dr Duffy and others say you can have inclusivity or fairness in Women’s sport but you can’t have both.

‘Since this all came to light my partner Paul has, under my request, been collating a lot of research on this including listening and watching hours of ICONS meetings which has debating many issues of trans in sports both strength based sports as well as precision sports.

‘Before the recent WDF world general meeting in Denmark, I asked for players to email in any problems they wanted brought up in the players’ meeting, apparently I mentioned the trans issue twice, which resulted in a darts organisation getting a complaint about me, and a PDC official having a moan at Paul. The reason the trans issue was mentioned twice is the overwhelming issue with ladies players is the transgender participation in Women’s darts.

‘Emails sent into the athletes’ commission of WDF were 90% about trans and only one of those were in support saying we should sit and chat as Noa-Lynn is a really nice person. Nobody is disputing that at all, it’s just my belief and many other women players that trans shouldn’t be in women’s ranked events.

‘At the recent Killarney festival I had the upset of a very good lady player who has played at the top end of WDF events and the PDC Women’s Series come to me in tears saying this issue is really getting to her and is considering walking away from darts. Every event I’m at including WDF, ADC, PDC the vast majority think this is wrong and damaging to women’s darts.

‘The trans policy of the WDF states the aim is to have a fair and level playing field. As stated earlier INCLUSIVITY is the buzz word at the moment, this seems to come mainly from men about Women’s sport, the PDC used this describing their support of rainbow laces. Could I ask where is the inclusivity in the PDC board, the DRA and not sure on this one the PDPA, if I’m wrong I apologise, but how many Women on there?

‘This argument is not to help me. At 64 I could walk away from the sport I love tomorrow this is for the Eleanor Cairns, Aurora Fochesato, Paige Pauling, Hannah Meek etc starting their dart careers, if we are going to have a girls or women’s World Championship it should be the gender of your birth, which in my view is a fair and level playing field.

‘These are my views and not the policy of WDF, England darts or any of my sponsors! Maybe its time to make our feelings known to the powers that be or accept the current situation.’