- Trans athletes would have a harder time competing in the Olympics and other international events as they struggle with meeting new testosterone levels.
- Sources from the International Olympic Committee confirmed that the maximum testosterone level would be changed from the current 10 nanomoles per liter to 5 nanomoles.
- The rules were expected to be implemented by Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
New rules on testosterone levels among female athletes will hurt transgender individuals more than their women counterparts according to a transgender news article by The Australian published last April 22.
Trans athletes would have a harder time competing in the Olympics and other international events as they struggle with updated policies particularly on meeting certain levels of hormones.
Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was expected to issue new rules later this year and they would be released to 55 sports federations ranging from archery to wrestling.
The rules were expected to be implemented by Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Sources from the organization confirmed that the maximum testosterone level would be changed from the current 10 nanomoles per liter to 5 nanomoles.
The announcement by the International Association of Athletics Federations would the allowable testosterone levels for individuals participating in women’s race at 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1,500 meters.
Impact of policy update
The policy update will impact women with certain conditions and transgender individuals who have transitioned and competed in categories that match their gender identity.
For instance, it would apply to Caster Semenya, gold medallist of Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for both 800 meters and 1,500 meters events, who was diagnosed elevated levels of male hormones. Other trans female players include weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, Danish golfer Mianne Bagger, and the Dutch cyclist Natalie van Gogh.
Historically, trans players were allowed to join since 2004 for as long as they had underwent sex reassignment surgery, two years of hormone replacement therapy after surgery, and legal gender recognition.
The rules were relaxed in 2015, allowing them to participate without requiring them for undergo gender-affirming procedures. The hormone replacement therapy was also reduced to one year.
“It appears they are going to act on the recommendation,” trans athlete Joanna Harper of IOC advisory committee transgender said.
Harper said that trans women had an advantage even after hormone treatment.
“Transgender women after hormone therapy are taller, bigger and stronger on average than cisgender [those whose gender identity matches their birth gender] women,” she explained.
“But that does not [necessarily] make it unfair. Let’s say we are talking about a boxer. Boxing is divided by weight classes, and in a given weight class a trans woman boxer is not going to be bigger than the women she is fighting in the ring,” she continued.
She went on to explain, “In high levels of sport, trans gender women are substantially underrepresented. That indicates that whatever physical advantages transgender women have – and they certainly exist – they are not nearly as large as the sociological disadvantages.”
A study on the sporting capabilities of transgender individuals who transitioned from male to female or from female to male would be released by Yannis Pitsiladis of IOC Medical and Scientific Commission.
Pitsiladis, professor of sport and exercise science at Brighton University, believed his work is going to the first of its kind to track individuals in sports who have transitioned.
He explained, “It may be that after the process, the muscle remains a male muscle.”
His study would monitor the development of 40 young people over 18 years old who receive treatment at Tavistock Center in London, an institution that pioneered treatment for young people who identify as transgender.