There should be no presumption that a transgender athlete will automatically have an unfair advantage in female events, according to new International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidance.
Its new framework on transgender inclusion, which was released on Tuesday, places the responsibility for determining eligibility criteria in sports on the shoulders of individual federations.
The 10-point document is “not legally binding,” and it is not expected that every sport will find a solution before the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
It also alters the policy on requiring transgender women to suppress testosterone levels in order to compete in female-only events, which was previously mandated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015.
The previous policy stated that transgender athletes would be permitted to compete if their testosterone levels remained below a certain threshold for a period of at least 12 months prior to their initial competition.
In female events, relying solely on testosterone levels to determine whether or not a competitor has an unfair advantage is no longer considered sufficient grounds for determination.
It is not necessary to use testosterone [to determine who is eligible to compete] at all. However, this is only a guideline, not a rule in and of itself “Richard Budgett, the IOC’s medical director, stated that
After nearly two years of consultation with more than 250 athletes and other stakeholders, the framework will be put into effect following the 2014 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will take place next year.
In a statement, Kaveh Mehrabi, director of the International Olympic Committee’s athletes’ department, stated, “We are offering all international federations our expertise and a dialogue, rather than jumping to a conclusion.”
“This is a process that we must go through with each federation on an individual basis in order to determine what is necessary.”
The International Olympic Committee’s new framework applies to athletes who have differences in sex development (DSD), such as Caster Semenya, a South African 800m runner.
WADA, the world governing body of athletics, defended its existing policy, which requires DSD athletes to suppress their testosterone levels in order to compete in certain events, pointing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s rejection of Semenya’s challenge of the rules in 2019.
“To the extent that the IOC document departs from our regulations, we would simply point out that a panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that the DSD regulations were a necessary, reasonable, and proportionate means of achieving World Athletics’ legitimate objective of maintaining fair and meaningful competition in the female category in 2019.” It added:
Additionally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that medical testing and “invasive physical examinations” used to determine an athlete’s gender were “disrespectful” and “potentially harmful.”
According to Magali Martowicz, the International Olympic Committee’s head of human rights, “we really want to make sure that athletes are not pressured or coerced into making a harmful decision about their bodies.”
Athletes should be involved in the decision-making process, according to the recommendations.
It goes on to say that restrictions should be based on credible research and that sports should meet all of the criteria necessary to demonstrate that a disproportionate advantage or a safety risk exists.
“When it comes to determining whether an athlete has a disproportionate advantage over their peers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognises that it must be within the purview of each sport and its governing body, taking into account the nature of each spork.
Consequently, the International Olympic Committee is unable to issue regulations that define eligibility criteria for every sport discipline,ne, or event across the vastly different national jurisdictions and sportsrt systems,” says the IOC.