The White House is “considering” a diplomatic boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics over human rights abuses, while the International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced they would nix testosterone testing for transgender athletes.
President Joe Biden announced that the boycott was “something we are considering” after a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. The ban will not bar athletes from competing at the Winter Games in China, but would send a message when U.S. delegates don’t attend.
The diplomatic boycott is Biden’s consession to human rights groups demands that the country fully refuse to participate in the Games over China’s attempts to topple democracy in Hong Kong and the genocide of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
Earlier this week, human rights issues led to a change in framework for intersex and trangender competitors, when the IOC announced that they were dropping their policy to test the testosterone levels of athletes competing in women’s sports.
The new framework barring “medically unnecessary” procedures or treatments of competitors is described as “grounded on the respect for internationally recognised human rights.”
The IOC required athletes to undergo genital surgery in order to compete prior to 2015’s guideline update, which capped a limit of testosterone levels and compelled some into treatments to lower the hormones. Under the 2021 update, there is no limit on how high a competitor’s testosterone levels can be.
“This Framework recognises both the need to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sex variations, can practise sport in a safe, harassment-free environment that recognises and respects their needs and identities,” the committee said.
A September report by the Sports Councils’ Equality Group found that “with or without testosterone suppression,” transgender women have an unfair advantage over biological women in sports.
The group noted that sports involving strength were particularly unbalanced, and that testosterone suppression “does not negate all the physiological advantages of having developed testosterone driven strength, stamina and physique.”
“The inclusion of transgender people into female sport cannot be balanced regarding transgender inclusion, fairness and safety in gender-affected sport where there is meaningful competition,” the report said.