Track and field’s governing body will exclude transgender women from female events
World Athletics, which oversees track and field internationally, announced Thursday it will exclude transgender women from competing in female events.
The council said the ruling applies to transgender athletes who have gone through “male puberty.” It will go into effect on March 31, which is also the Transgender Day of Visibility.
World Athletics said there are no current transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics and admitted there’s “no athletics-specific evidence of the impact these athletes would have on the fairness of female competition in athletics.”
Additionally, World Athletics also decided that athletes with differences in sexual development will be required to reduce their testosterone levels between a limit of 2.5 nanomoles per liter for a minimum of 24 months to compete internationally in the female category for any event – not just events that were previously restricted like the 400-meter to one-mile races.
Sebastian Coe, the organization’s president, said in a statement that the council vows to “maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations. We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
However, the ruling is already receiving pushback.
Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a nonprofit LGBTQ athletic advocacy group, said they were “beyond devastated” over World Athletics’ ruling. Taylor pointed to research from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which found that transgender women who have undergone testosterone suppression have “no clear biological advantages” over cis women in elite sports.
Chris Mosier, who in 2020 became the first known transgender athlete to compete in the Olympic trials in the gender they identify, said in a statement that rulings like these have a “trickle down effect to other policies,” referring to legislation within the U.S. that would ban trans athletes.
“The real impact will be felt by youth athletes around the world who are now unable to pursue their athletic dreams, and who are bombarded with messages from sports organizations and lawmakers telling them that they do not belong and don’t deserve the same opportunities as their peers to experience the joy, connections, and camaraderie that comes with playing sports,” Mosier said.
Aside from track and field, World Athletics governs cross-country running, road running, race walking, mountain running and ultra running.
In the same announcement on Thursday, the World Athletics said it will lift its doping ban on Russia, but it will remain excluded from international competition because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanction also includes athletes from Belarus.
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