Lazy eyes listen
The World Athletics Council has ruled that transgender people will no longer be able to compete in female sports. Any athlete who has gone through male puberty, regardless of their current hormonal levels, will be barred from competing in women’s track and field events beginning in April.
“The Council has agreed to exclude male or female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty from female world ranking competitions beginning March 31 this year,” said the organization’s head, Sebastian Coe, at a press conference on Thursday.
He stated that the Council discussed transgender athletes with stakeholders such as 40 national federations, the International Olympic Committee, and trans groups. The majority of the participants agreed that trans athletes should not compete in female events.
“Many believe there is insufficient evidence that trans women retain an advantage over biological women, and they want more evidence that any physical advantages have been mitigated before they are willing to consider an option for inclusion into the female category,” Coe said.
“We continue to believe that fairness for female athletes must take precedence over all other considerations,” he added.
Transgender women’s sports participation remains a contentious issue, not least because of the achievements of some trans athletes, such as US swimmer Lia Thomas and New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who both excelled in their respective sports.
Various athletic associations have taken opposing stances on the issue. The International Olympic Committee stated in 2021 that transgender women should have “no presumption of advantage” in competitions.
While transgender and equality advocates have applauded the IOC, there has also been criticism and repeated calls for more specific requirements for some sports. It passed the buck to individual sporting federations in December 2022, allowing them to issue more specific eligibility criteria as needed.
In 2022, the international swimming governing body World Aquatics (formerly FINA) prohibited transgender athletes from competing in women’s events if they had completed any stage of male puberty. It then promised to establish a new “open” category. Similar rules were later adopted by the International Rugby League.
Last year, Coe argued that “testosterone is the key determinant in performance,” vowing to protect “the integrity and future of women’s sport.”