The International Olympic Committee released new guidelines for trans and intersex athletes last week which while expected to loosen the testosterone level requirements for male athletes who identify and want to compete as females, eliminated them altogether, passing the task of determining eligibility on to individual sports agencies.
Forbes reports that the Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations provides 10 points to be considered when the lower sports agencies are determining if trans athletes qualify to compete in their respective events.
These are inclusion, prevention of harm, non-discrimination, fairness, no presumption of advantage, evidence-based approach, primacy of health and bodily autonomy, stakeholder-centered approach, right to privacy, and periodic reviews.
While the framework is meant for Olympic-aspiring athletes, the IOC suggested it could be used to guide the inclusion of trans athletes in all levels of sport, even recreational.
Trans athletes in women’s sports have become a contentious issue over the last few years and at the Tokyo Summer Games this year, a trans weightlifter competed against women for the first time in history.
The framework’s mention of “no presumption of advantage” addresses the common concern that biologically male athletes may have an inherent physical advantage over their female competitors, particularly in events such as weightlifting.
The athlete, Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand, was required to meet a certain testosterone criteria as per the previous IOC guidelines for trans competitors.
“Far too often, sport policy does not reflect the lived experience of marginalized athletes, and that’s especially true when it comes to transgender athletes and athletes with sex variations,” Quinn, the world’s first trans nonbinary gold medalist, told Forbes. “This new IOC framework is groundbreaking in the way that it reflects what we know to be true — that athletes like me and my peers participate in sports without any inherent advantage, and that our humanity deserves to be respected.”
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