On Thursday, World Athletics made the announcement that it would ban transgender female athletes who have been through male puberty from competing in world ranking competitions.
The international governing body for track and field and other running-related athletic events said there would be no immediate consequences from the announcement as no transgender athletes are competing on an international stage at this time.
“World Athletics conducted a consultation period with various stakeholders in the first two months of this year, including Member Federations, the Global Athletics Coaches Academy and Athletes’ Commission, the IOC as well as representative transgender and human rights groups,” the organization said.
“It became apparent that there was little support within the sport for the option that was first presented to stakeholders, which required transgender athletes to maintain their testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for 24 months to be eligible to compete internationally in the female category.”
“In terms of DSD [Differences of Sexual Development] regulations, World Athletics has more than 10 years of research and evidence of the physical advantages that these athletes bring to the female category.
“However, there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics and consequently no athletics-specific evidence of the impact these athletes would have on the fairness of female competition in athletics.
“In these circumstances, the Council decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe spoke to the BBC and said “We’re not saying no forever” when asked about whether these rules would be set in stone permanently.
Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies said the rules should also be applied at a school level.
“Protecting the female category must include young girls, masters females & schools too. They all deserve their right to fair sport. This cannot just be about the elite. School girls, Club athletes & masters racers (as well protecting the pathway) is no less worthy of fair competition” Davies tweeted.
LGBT charity Stonewall hit out at the decision and backed trans athletes.
“It is so disappointing to see World Athletics announce a unilateral ban on trans women in track and field events. Their own statement recognizes that there are no trans women competing at an international level and that they have no specific evidence to justify the ban.”
“We stand with trans people who now have the door closed on their chance to compete in athletic sports at an international level.”
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