New IOC framework removes need...


New IOC framework removes need for trans women to lower testosterone

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has published a new framework regarding transgender athletes competing in elite sport. 

The framework is the result of  two years' consultation work, with input from over 250 athletes and stakeholders.

With it, the IOC are hoping "to promote a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved in elite-level competition."

One of its key changes from guidelines issued in 2015 means trans women will no longer have to alter their natural testosterone levels to participate in elite sport.

Those six-year old rules prevented double Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya from competing at Tokyo 2020. While Semenya is not transgender, she has naturally high levels of testosterone.

Meanwhile, last summer's Games saw Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard break new ground by becoming the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games.

"No athlete should be excluded from competing based on an unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status", the framework states.

Furthermore, it says "Athletes should never be pressured by an International Federation, sports organisation or any other party... to undergo medically unnecessary procedures or treatment to meet eligibility criteria.

Invasive physical examinations, such as gynaecological exams, have also been ruled out by the framework.

"Athletes should be allowed to compete but unfair advantage needs to be regulated," they add.

The framework hasn't been universally welcomed, however, with sports scientist Ross Tucker claiming, "Point 5 in this document is unscientific, heavily political and cowardly.

"The only way you achieve “no presumption of advantage” is if you treat TW as a special subset of biological males who are exempt from biological processes we know differentiate male and female for sport."

The IOC have set a target of March 2022 for a series of webinars to bring sporting bodies and international federations up to speed on the rule changes.

"The framework is not legally binding, said IOC director of the athletes' department Keveh Mehrabi, "What we are offering to all the international federations is our expertise and a dialogue, rather than jumping to a conclusion.

"This is a process that we have to go through with each federation on a case by case basis and see what is required."

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Caster Semenya IOC International Olympic Committee Transgender Transgender Athletes

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