The International Olympic Committee officially updated its guidelines for trans athletes, stating, “It is necessary … that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition.”
The statement goes on to acknowledge why the changes occurred, noting that fair competition can be preserved without requiring any of its participating athletes to undergo surgery for anatomical changes. It also mentioned the human rights issues the old guidelines presented.
The changes are a result of a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In 2015 the court vacated the International Association of Athletics Federation’s regulations regarding the essential ban on athletes with hyperandrogenism. Ultimately, the court believed the association provided insufficient scientific evidence about the relationship between “enhanced testosterone levels and improved athletic performance in hyperandrogenic athletes.”
The new rules negate the previous regulations that transgender athletes must undergo both sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to compete in the international games. However, the IOC’s update to gender-specific guidelines remain somewhat questionable.
The full article first appeared at Paste Magazine on January 26, 2016.