International Olympic Committee releases document defending transgender athletes

by Seth Udinski


In some troubling international news, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) claimed on Tuesday that no athlete should be excluded from competition on the grounds of a perceived unfair advantage due to their gender as it released a new framework on transgender athletes.

The governing body, however, added that it was not in a position to issue regulations that define eligibility criteria for every sport, leaving it up to federations to determine if an athlete was at a disproportionate advantage. The document says,

This framework recognizes the need to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sex variations, can practice sport in a safe, harassment-free environment that recognizes and respects their needs and identities, and the interest of everyone – particularly athletes at elite level –  to participate in fair competitions where no participant has an unfair or disproportionate advantage over the rest.

The 10-point document, which was prepared over the course of two years in consultation with more than 250 athletes and other stakeholders, will be rolled out after the Beijing Winter Games next year, replacing the guidelines issued in 2015.
The new framework also moves away from the old policy that said transgender athletes would be allowed to compete provided their testosterone levels were below a certain limit for at least 12 months before their first competition.

The new framework comes just months after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, a biological man identifying as female, became the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics Games in Tokyo.

(Edited for FISM News by Seth Udinski)

Copyright 2021 Thompson/Reuters