The International Olympic Committee has received new recommendations for guidelines it’s expected to adopt, opening the door for more trans athletes to compete internationally, reports outsports.com. The recommendations address allowing competition by transgender athletes who have had gender reassignment surgery, as well as those who have not yet had surgery, or have chosen not to do so although their gender identity is at odds with their genitalia.
This may not pose much of an issue for competitions in which transmen compete against cisgender men, but it is likely to raise issues for transwomen whose bodies have been developmentally male. Nevertheless, the recommendations state:
To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights. …
Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
• The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
• The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
• The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
Regardless of testosterone levels, the first time a pre-op transwoman takes a medal competing against cisgender women—think about a younger Caitlyn Jenner in a women’s track and field event—it’s going to get ugly.