Global Track Body Proposal: No Ban for Transgender Athletes

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Athletics’ governing body is facing fresh criticism for a proposal to allow transgender athletes to continue to compete in top women’s events, albeit with stricter rules.

World Athletics has sent a proposal for new regulations governing transgender athletes – and the separate issue of athletes with differences in sexual development like two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya – to national track federations for comment.

The governing body’s “preferred option”, she said in a statement this week, is that transgender athletes and those with developmental gender differences still be allowed to compete in women’s events. they lower their testosterone levels further, to less than 2.5 nanomoles per liter of blood.

They would have to keep their testosterone below that level for at least two years before being allowed to compete, according to World Athletics’ proposal.

Transgender athletes are currently free to compete in elite women’s events if they have kept their testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles for at least a year. Athletes with developmental gender differences who also have testosterone levels above the typical female range should be below 5 nanomoles for six months prior to competition.

Although WA is proposing to tighten its regulations, it was expected to consider a complete ban on transgender athletes in women’s events following swimming’s decision to do so last year.

The decision by world swimming body FINA, which bars transgender athletes who have experienced part of male puberty from competing against women, was backed at the time by World Athletics chairman Sebastian Coe.

Track’s proposal to still allow transgender athletes has been criticized by some, including British shot putter Amelia Strickler, who said transgender athletes had a clear advantage in her event.

“The fact that World Athletics, one of the greats, hasn’t (set) its foot down, I think is really, really upsetting,” Strickler told The Telegraph newspaper. “I’m genuinely concerned. It’s my career. … I think these rules could really open the floodgates. If I get any backlash on social media, I don’t care.

Some British athletes have supported Strickler on social media.

Others have argued that sport needs to find a way to include transgender athletes. There are currently no openly transgender athletes in elite athletics or swimming.

The inclusion of transgender athletes and those with differences in sexual development is one of the most controversial and emotional topics in sport, and athletics has been wrestling with how to officially address it for more than a decade. .

The new proposed rules have been sent to WA’s member federations, but that does not mean they will be finally adopted, WA said.

Athletes with developmental gender differences, such as Semenya of South Africa and Olympic silver medalist sprinter Christine Mboma of Namibia, are not transgender, although the two issues share similarities in sport.

These athletes were legally identified as female at birth, but have a medical condition that leads to certain masculine traits, including high levels of testosterone that WA says gives them the same kind of unfair advantage as transgender athletes. .

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