Why transgender female athletes can’t compete in female events

Source: The post is based on the article “Why transgender female athletes can’t compete in female events” published in The Indian Express on 25th March 2023.

What is the news?

Transgender women have been barred from competing in the female category by World Athletics (WA). WA is the international governing body for track and field.

The ban has been put for those transgender women who have experienced male puberty.

Whave transgender women been barred?

The WA’s Eligibility Regulations for Transgender Athletes focuses on the physical advantages men have over women post-puberty.

The differences that arise from puberty require classification of the athletes. Due to this, there are separate competition for men and women athletes.

However, transgender women were misusing their categories. For example, Lia Thomas used hormone replacement therapy and moved from the men’s category to the women’s category. She started breaking records in the IVY League competition after that.

What were the previous rules for transgender women?

In January, WA implemented the ‘preferred option’ for transgender women. This required the reduction of blood testosterone limit to below 2.5nmol/L for two years to qualify as transgender woman to compete in the female category.

However, despite this, WA opted for a ban because the ‘preferred option’ did not have any takers. There was little support within the sport federations for the option presented to stakeholders.

Which other sports have banned transgender female athletes?

World Rugby in 2020 became the first international sports federation to bar transgender women from the female competition.

After this, Rugby Football League, Rugby Football Union, British Triathlon and FINA (the international swimming federation) also banned transgender women from the female competition.

What are other rules changed by WA?

According to WA, DSD (Differences in Sex Development) athletes, or those who have genes linked with one sex but whose reproductive organs may not be atypical, must keep their testosterone below 2.5 nmol/L for 24 months in order to compete in female events.

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