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International Olympic committee aims to have better transgender friendly sports laws

Samiksha Malvade

November 17,2021 : In the space of world athletics, transgender athletes have largely been excluded due to a lack of gender inclusive regulations. The world just saw the first transgender weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard compete in the Tokyo Olympics last summer. This first only became a possibility due to the mandate laid down by the International Olympic Committee in 2015 for transgender inclusion, after taking recommendations from many sports bodies such as the IWF. Recently the International Olympic Committee released a statement that said “No athlete should be excluded from competing based on an ‘unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status’ “. This statement was followed by a 6-page document that contained advice to help write better transgender friendly sports laws and update the existing rules of the 2015 mandate. The new guidance updates will particularly try to update the set limit on athletes' permitted testosterone levels, leading to treatments and procedures now described as "medically unnecessary”, as the IOC acknowledges that this prior eligibility line has caused severe harm and put athletes through invasive medical examinations, which they seek to avoid henceforth. This 6-page document is currently, ‘not legally binding’, but still expects the sports bodies around the world to follow the guidelines if the wish to partake in world events such as the Olympics.

Furthermore, the IOC has stated that the 6- page document is in no way an answer to the big question of transgender and intersex athlete sport regulation, but seeks to put a step in the right direction and make the space of international sports more gender inclusive.

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