On Thursday, World Athletics announced that transgender women are not allowed to compete in elite female competitions and have also established stricter testosterone rules for other athletes. Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, clarified that the prohibition of transgender women who went through male puberty was based on upholding fairness and integrity in the female category.
To ensure fairness is upheld, World Athletics has taken steps to tighten regulations surrounding one of the most contentious and controversial topics in sport; a move that was mirrored by World Aquatics for the 2022 season.
World Athletics recently voted to reduce the maximum level of plasma testosterone for athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD) from five to two-and-a-half nanomoles per litre. This decision was made in order to provide fairer competition and better opportunities. Athletes participating in DSD events must lower their testosterone levels below the new requirements for a period of 24 months in order to compete, which is twice as long as before.
Previously, the ruling body proposed the possibility of transgender athletes competing in the female division, on the condition that they keep their testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for a consecutive period of 24 months.
Coe mentioned that the decision-making process was based on discussions with various stakeholders such as 40 member federations, trainers, athletes and representatives from different organizations such as trans groups, UN professionals, and IOC.
World Aquatics recently issued a ruling in June 2020 that prohibits transgender women from participating in elite swimming tournaments if they had gone through male puberty. This decision has raised questions about fairness among transgender participants. A scientific committee has determined that transgender women, even when their testosterone levels are decreased due to medication, still possess a notable advantage in competition.