International Olympic Committee publishes new framework for transgender inclusion

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BBC Sport – Olympics
In Tokyo, Laurel Hubbard became the first transgender athlete to compete in a different gender category than she was born in at the Olympics

A new guideline from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says that a transgender athlete should not automatically be assumed to have an unfair advantage in female competitions.

His new framework for the inclusion of transgender people, published on Tuesday, puts the individual associations in charge of setting the eligibility criteria for their sport.

The 10-point document is “not legally binding” and not every sport is expected to find a solution before Paris 2024.

The framework, which replaces the IOC guidelines issued in 2015, also amends the guideline requiring transgender women to lower testosterone levels in order to attend female events.

The old policy stated that transgender athletes were allowed to compete provided their testosterone levels were below a certain limit for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.

Relying solely on testosterone levels at female events is no longer considered a sufficient reason to determine whether or not a competitor has an unfair advantage.

“You don’t need to use testosterone [to decide who can compete] at all. But that’s a guide, it’s not an absolute rule, “said IOC Medical Director Richard Budgett.

The framework was developed over two years in consultation with more than 250 athletes and other interest groups and will be implemented next year after the Winter Games in Beijing.

“What we offer all international federations is our expertise and a dialogue, instead of jumping to conclusions,” said Kaveh Mehrabi, director of the IOC’s athletes department.

“This is a process that we have to go through with each association on a case-by-case basis and see what it takes.”

The new framework of the IOC also applies to athletes with different gender development (DSD) such as the South African 800m runner Caster Semenya.

Umbrella organization World Athletics defended its existing policy forcing DSD athletes to lower their testosterone levels to attend certain events, citing Semenya’s rejection of Semenya’s challenge to the rules from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019.

In his statement, it says: “Unless the IOC document deviates from our regulation, we would simply like to point out that the Arbitration Court for Sports in 2019 will use the DSD regulations as a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the legitimate goals of World Athletics has found the aim to maintain fair and meaningful competition in the category of women. “

The IOC also said medical tests and “invasive physical exams” to verify an athlete’s gender are “disrespectful” and “potentially harmful”.

“We really want to make sure that athletes are not pressured or forced to make harmful choices about their bodies,” said Magali Martowicz, IOC director of human rights.

The guidelines emphasize that athletes should be part of the decision-making process.

She adds that restrictions should be based on solid credible research and that exercise should meet all criteria to demonstrate that there is a disproportionate benefit or a safety risk.

“The IOC recognizes that it must be within the remit of each sport and its governing body to determine how an athlete, taking into account the nature of each sport, can have a disproportionate advantage over his colleagues,” says the framework.

“The IOC is therefore not in a position to issue regulations that define admission criteria for every sport, discipline or event in the very different national legal systems and sports systems.”

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