Transgender women are set to be banned from competing in the female category at international events, the World Athletics body has said. The governing body’s president, Lord Coe, said no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions from March 31.
According to a report by the BBC, he said the move is currently temporary while a working group is formed to conduct further research into the transgender eligibility guidelines. He said: “We’re not saying no forever.”
Under previous rules, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of 5 nmol/L and stay under the threshold continuously for a period of 12 months before competing in the female category. Lord Coe said there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in the sport.
However, he said the decision was “guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category”. He added: “Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we must continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations.
“We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
The council agreed to set up a working group for 12 months to “further consider the issue of transgender inclusion.” The independent chair will lead the group, while it will also include up to three council members, two athletes from the Athletes’ Commission, a transgender athlete, three representatives of World Athletics’ member federations and representatives of the World Athletics health and science department.