World Athletics Takes Controversial Stance On Transgender Athletes

By Silar - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The governing body for track and field and other running-related athletic events, World Athletics, has announced that transgender female athletes who have been through male puberty will be excluded from world rankings competitions.

The decision was made after World Athletics conducted a consultation period with various stakeholders, including member federations, the Global Athletics Coaches Academy and Athletes’ Commission, the International Olympic Committee, and representative transgender and human rights groups. The decision prioritizes fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.

According to World Athletics, there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics. Therefore, the decision would have no consequences for athletes right now. The Council agreed to set up a Working Group for 12 months to further consider the issue of transgender inclusion.

The Working Group will include an independent chair, up to three Council Members, two athletes from the Athletes’ Commission, a transgender athlete, three representatives of the Member Federations, and representatives of the World Athletics Health and Science Department. The Working Group’s remit will be to consult specifically with transgender athletes to seek their views on competing in athletics, to review and/or commission additional research where there is currently limited research, and to put forward recommendations to Council.

World Athletics also issued guidelines for athletes considered to be differences in sex development (DSD). The new regulations will require any relevant athletes to reduce their testosterone levels below a limit of 2.5 nmol/L for a minimum of 24 months to compete internationally in the female category in any event, not just the events that were restricted under the previous regulations.

The principle of restricted events has been removed from the regulations. Interim provisions will be introduced for those relevant athletes who are already competing in what were the unrestricted events, including a requirement to suppress their testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for a minimum of six months before they are eligible to compete again.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said the decision would be guided by science. The organization has more than 10 years of research and evidence of the physical advantages that these athletes bring to the female category. As more evidence becomes available, World Athletics will review its position, but the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.

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