Men who identify as women but haven’t had gender reassignment surgery will be allowed to compete in female-only Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee received proposed guidelines in November from its ‘Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism’, allowing for more liberal policies that would include transgender athletes.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: Olympic officials have not confirmed the new guidelines, which have already been adopted by other regulatory sports organizations, but the policy is available on the organization’s website.
The policy change would be in line with NCAA standards in the United States, which allow male-to-female and female-to-male transgender athletes to compete without having gender reassignment surgery, according to ESPN.
The current Olympic rules acknowledge transgender athletes’ right to compete, but with specific provisions under the Stockholm Consensus, which was adopted in 2004.
The policies, adopted before the Athens Olympics, say transgender athletes have to have gender reassignment surgery and have legal recognition of the gender they were assigned at birth. They also have to have undergone at least two years of hormone replacement therapy after surgery.
The proposed new rules would allow transgender athletes to compete after one year of hormone replacement therapy and no surgery is required.
Joanna Harper, chief medical physicist, radiation oncology at Providence Portland Medical Center, was one of the people at the Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism. She is also trans, and said her voice was important in determining the new guidlines.
‘The new IOC transgender guidelines fix almost all of the deficiencies with the old rules,’ Harper said wrote in an email to OutSports. ‘Hopefully, organizations such as the ITA will quickly adapt to the new IOC guidelines and all of the outdated trans policies will get replaced soon.’
‘The waiting period for trans women goes from two years after surgery to one year after the start of HRT,’ Harper added. ‘This matches up with the NCAA rules and is as good as anything. The waiting period was perhaps the most contentious item among our group and one year is a reasonable compromise.’
The proposal might open doors for transgender athletes like Chris Mosier, who last year qualified for the US Sprint Duathlon team, competing against men.
Mosier has not undergone gender reassignment surgery but fulfills the hormone replacement guidelines.
It is unknown if the International Triathlon Union – which oversees the World Championship tri- and duathlon events – will also adopt the new regulations in time for Mosier to compete.
The IOC’s commitment to World Anti-Doping Code and WADA’s international standards will remain constant with the policy change.
The guidelines also contain recommendations that the Olympics put rules ‘in place for the protection of women in sport and the promotion of the principles of fair competition’ after the results of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand’s victory in Court of Arbitration for Sport in July.
The decision allowed for female athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone to compete.
‘The IAAF, with support from other International Federations, National Olympic Committees and other sports organisations, is encouraged to revert to CAS with arguments and evidence to support the reinstatement of its hyperandrogenism rules,’ the policy reads.
It continues: ‘To avoid discrimination, if not eligible for female competition the athlete should be eligible to compete in male competition.’
Prior to the ruling, Chad was suspended for having high levels of testosterone.
Her story drew parallels to South African 800-meter runner Caster Semenya, who was subjected to gender testing after winning a world title in 2009.
She was suspended for more than a year before she went on to win a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Forty years ago Caitlyn Jenner won a gold medal at the Montreal Summer Olympics in the Men’s Decathlon event when she was then known as Bruce Jenner.
If she were to compete today – if she had undergone one year of hormone replacement therapy – she could compete in the women’s event.