30 Sep Transgender athletes maintain an edge in sports, the British Sports Council says
Major reviews suggest that transgender athletes have an unfair advantage in women’s sports and need to introduce a new “universal” category.
A report from Sport England concluded that transgender women have an advantage in some sports, even when testosterone levels decline.
New report to protect women’s sports while ensuring transgender participation The “Universal” or “Open” category has been introduced for trans-athletes.
Currently, according to the guidelines of the International Olympic Committee, transgender athletes can compete in elite sports as women if their testosterone levels are less than 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before the first competition. increase.
However, a new review from UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland and Sport Northern Ireland has determined that testosterone suppression does not deprive trans women of their physical benefits in women’s sports.
For this reason, it is not possible to guarantee safety and fairness in competition in some sports.
It was even suggested that some sports could come up with new forms that anyone could play safely and fairly, such as a non-contact version of team sports.
This review will be conducted after the New Zealand team has selected transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to compete in the + 87kg weightlifting division of the Tokyo Olympics.
Hubbard was the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics and previously participated in men’s competitions before the transition to 2013.
Her participation was criticized by other athletes, but she was eliminated without recording a successful lift.
Laurel Hubbard, 43, was born as a man, but moved to a woman in his thirties. She moved to 2013 and participated in a men’s weightlifting competition before participating in the Tokyo Olympics.She’s a post-transition photo, competing in the 2017 World Championships
Australian weightlifter Charisma Amoe-Tarant, 22, wishes her rivals good luck in Tokyo.
The long-awaited document reviewed the latest survey and was based on interviews with 300 people and 175 organizations, which took 18 months to edit.
“Long-term evidence shows that men have many physical advantages in sports compared to women, which is permitted by law …” said the Sports Council. ..
“Current studies show that testosterone suppression does not deny this physical benefit to women and therefore cannot guarantee competitive equity and / or safety.”
The document released today adds: ‘
How does the “Universal” category work?
A major review from the British Sports Council said today that transgender women have an advantage when competing in women’s sports.
To counter this, we recommend creating an “open” or “universal” category.
Currently, the concept of creating different categories of competition is not practiced in the UK.
However, they are designed to protect women while at the same time ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to compete.
In this category, you can enter all categories regardless of gender identity.
However, to be in the women category, athletes must declare themselves female at birth.
It adds:'[Sports governing bodies] If you are affected by gender, you may choose to offer sports in which the women’s category is protected for reasons of fairness and / or safety of competition. These sports offer both women’s and open categories. A female entry must declare herself as a female recorded at birth. The open category will be open to all athletes.
The Sports Council is not a regulatory body and the documentation is for guidance within the UK. It does not apply to international sports or elite sports.
However, this is an important contribution to the debate over transgender participation and may signal a change at the elite level.
“The IOC recently announced that their guidelines are no longer fit for purpose, and they continue to review them,” said the British Sports Council.
After the New Zealand team chose to compete for transgender athlete Hubbard in the + 87 kg weightlifting category, the issue of trans participation was clearly focused prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
The discussion of Hubbard’s participation shook between the right to participate as a transathlete in compliance with the IOC guidelines for testosterone suppression and concerns about retaining the physical benefits of growing up as a man.
Belgian weightlifter Anna van Bellingen, who was scheduled to play Hubbard in Tokyo, said before the tournament: The whole thing feels like a bad joke. ”
After Hubbard’s Olympic selection was announced, British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies declared on Twitter that “sports biology is important.”
However, Australian rival Charisma Amoe-Tarant said Hubbard’s participation was okay and Kiwi transgender athletes also received support from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Hubbard (left) was ranked 4th in 14 Olympic qualifiers.However, British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (right) has made a decision to allow Hubbard to compete in Tokyo.
The UK Sports Council has clearly stated that suppressing testosterone for 12 months “cannot guarantee fairness.”
“Transgender people who suppress testosterone from the male level seem to have retention of physical fitness,” they add. “Such physical differences also affect the safety parameters of the sport, which is essentially combat, collision, or contact.”
This review focuses on recent studies that support the Council’s conclusions.
According to the guidelines, adult male athletes have an average performance advantage of 10-12% over female athletes in swimming and running events, 20% advantage in jumping events, weightlifting, etc. Strength-based sports improve performance by 35%. For athletes of the same size.
“The results of recent practice matches between senior women’s soccer teams and underage men’s teams help us understand the gap between men and women,” said the sports organization. “The Australian, American and Brazilian national teams were comprehensively beaten by the club teams of boys aged 14 and 15 (7-0, 5-2 and 6-0, respectively).”
Individual sports need to consider what the guidelines mean to them. There are various issues under consideration. For example, the guidelines emphasize potential safety considerations for collisions and martial arts, as well as issues of fairness in power sports such as sprinting.
“We couldn’t provide a single solution that would solve all the identified problems or satisfy all stakeholders,” the review said before requesting a “reset” of the system. increase.
In addition, the Sports Council emphasizes the need to encourage everyone’s participation.
“Sports must be a place where everyone is personal, everyone can participate, and everyone is treated with kindness, dignity, and respect,” the guidelines say.
Sports should consider whether transgender inclusion is a priority. Establish a new format by protecting the women’s category by providing an open section and a “women only” section, or by adjusting the rules to make it available to everyone, including non-contact versions of team sports. ..
“If you’ve experienced male puberty, you’ll be taller and your heart and lungs bigger.”
“The important point is that there is a reason why the men and women categories of sports are separated. The reason is the biological difference between men and women.” Chris Lavey, a lawyer for the Bird & Bird Sports Group in London, told Sportsmail earlier this year.
“Clearly, there is a great deal of overlap in sporting abilities between men and women,” added Lavey, who helped draft the IOC guidelines for transgender participation.
“But at the elite level of sports, for example, in athletics, you can compare and see world records for men and women. [the advantage] Is about 10% or 12%, but can be up to 20% in some sports and up to 30% in weightlifting. Empirical evidence and science support it.
“Transgender women challenge the binary category run by sports. Prior to receiving testosterone inhibitory treatment, trans women were effectively biological men at the XY chromosome, testis, and male (high) levels. Having testosterone, as a result, has all the physical benefits that men have over women, and some of the physical benefits that result from high levels of testosterone during growth persist.
“If you are experiencing male puberty, you will have height benefits, a larger heart, larger lungs, and it will not be affected by testosterone suppression.
“Science is becoming more and more apparent and benefits are retained after testosterone suppression. Then, in the light of that science, the sports governing body prioritizes competing fair competition, safety and inclusiveness. The question is how to adjust. This can vary depending on the level at which the sport is played and the particular nature of the sport itself. In Sunday League football, it can be very different from the Olympics.
“It is up to the individual sport to consider, take a position and regulate science and its policy goals as needed.
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