The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that it was moving away from its testosterone testing for transgender athletes and would now allow each sport governing body to “determine how an athlete can have a disproportionate advantage over their peers, taking into account of the nature of each sport. “
This week’s change marks the first change since 2015, when the IOC began requiring transgender women to prove their testosterone levels were below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before competing.
“Athletes should never be pressured by any international federation, sports organization or any other party (whether through the eligibility criteria or otherwise) to undergo procedures or medically unnecessary treatments in order to meet the eligibility criteria, “the committee said in a statement accompanying the release of the new 10-part frame.
“Provided they meet eligibility criteria in accordance with principle 4 [on fairness], athletes should be allowed to compete in the category that best matches their self-determined gender identity, ”the statement continued. “The criteria for determining a disproportionate competitive advantage can sometimes require testing of an athlete’s performance and physical ability. However, no athlete should be subjected to targeted testing because of, or to determine, their sex, gender identity and / or sexual variations.
The IOC further argued that there should be “no presumption of benefit” in determining whether a transgender woman is eligible to compete.
Although the IOC is dropping its testing of testosterone levels for transgender athletes, it appears the governing body will continue to allow individual sports governing bodies to do so.
“Medical information about an athlete, including testosterone levels, which is collected in the context of anti-doping or otherwise, should be treated in accordance with applicable privacy laws and should only be used for purposes disclosed to athletes at the time this information is collected, ”the committee said.
The change comes after the first transgender athlete – New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – competed in the Olympics last summer. The Tokyo Games also saw the first non-binary athletes, Canadian footballer Quinn, American skateboarder Alana Smith and American BMX freestyle cyclist Chelsea Wolfe.
Richard Budgett, the IOC’s medical and scientific director, said it is “perfectly clear now that your performance is not proportional to your built-in testosterone.”
“There was a lot of agreement among many of us in sports that 10 nanomoles were probably the wrong level if you look at testosterone anyway,” he added, by NBC Sports.
However, not everyone feels the same.
World Athletics responded to the IOC cadre this week, confirming that its current eligibility rules will remain in place, according to Inside the Games.
Passed in 2019, World Athletics rules cap athletes’ testosterone levels at five nanomoles per liter in order to compete in women’s 400-meter to one-mile events.
“World Athletics’ eligibility rules are based on the same fundamental principles aimed at ensuring fair competition in the women’s category and on inclusion rather than exclusion, as the IOC identified in its framework document” the sport’s governing body said. “[W]orld Athletics has over a decade of detailed and relevant research and data, which has been used to inform its women’s eligibility rules and continues to collect data and collaborate on research.
As Faithwire previously reported:
In December, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even after taking hormones for two years to suppress testosterone, transgender women still had a 12% advantage in running, a 10% advantage in push-ups and a 6% advantage in sit-ups. The study’s authors said these percentages might even be underestimated “because trans women will have higher power output than [biological] women when performing an equivalent number of push-ups.
Nonetheless, Quinn – the non-binary Canadian football player – described the new IOC executive as “innovative,” NBC News reported.
“All too often sports policy does not reflect the lived experience of marginalized athletes, and this is especially true when it comes to transgender athletes and athletes with sexual variations,” said the athlete. . “This new IOC framework is revolutionary in that it reflects what we know to be true – that athletes like me and my peers participate in sports without any inherent benefit, and that our humanity deserves to be respected.”
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