The International Olympic Committee has received a new recommendation for guidelines it is expected to fully adopt, opening the door for more trans athletes to compete internationally.
Jan 21, 2016 – Outsports has obtained a copy of the transgender guidelines the International Olympic Committee is expected to adopt before the Summer Olympics later this year. The guidelines stem from an unpublicized “Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism” the IOC held last November. The guidelines have not yet been distributed by the IOC, but Outsports received the new policy via a trusted source.
The guidelines leave no restriction for a trans man, like triathlete Chris Mosier, to compete against men. Mosier’s participation in the World Duathlon Championships, for which he has qualified, has been in doubt.
Joanna Harper, chief medical physicist, radiation oncology, Providence Portland Medical Center, was one of the people at that meeting. She also happens to be trans, and she said her voice in the room was important in determining these guidelines.
“The new IOC transgender guidelines fix almost all of the deficiencies with the old rules,” Harper said via email late Thursday night. “Hopefully, organizations such as the ITA will quickly adapt to the new IOC guidelines and all of the outdated trans policies will get replaced soon.”
In addition to opening the door wide for trans men, the new policy removes the need for women to undergo gender-reassignment surgery to compete.
“The waiting period for trans women goes from two years after surgery to one year after the start of HRT,” Harper said. “This matches up with the NCAA rules and is as good as anything. The waiting period was perhaps the most contentious item among our group and one year is a reasonable compromise.”
While no publicly out trans athlete has competed in the Olympics, Mosier has earned a spot in the World Duathlon Championships later this year; His participation could have been held up by existing IOC policy that mandated gender-reassignment surgery. Other trans athletes, like Keelin Godsey, have come within inches of qualifying for the Olympics and other World Championships.
The complete findings of the meeting attendees, and their recommendation for the new IOC policy, looks like this:
1) Transgender guidelines
A. Since the 2003 Stockholm Consensus on Sex Reassignment in Sports, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of autonomy of gender identity in society, as reflected in the laws of many jurisdictions worldwide.
B. There are also, however, jurisdictions where autonomy of gender identity is not recognised in law at all.
C. It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition.
D. The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. Restrictions on participation are appropriate to the extent that they are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of that objective.
E. To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.
F. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to undermine in any way the requirement to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and the WADA International Standards.
G. These guidelines are a living document and will be subject to review in light of any scientific or medical developments.
In this spirit, the IOC Consensus Meeting agreed the following guidelines to be taken into account by sports organisations when determining eligibility to compete in male and female competition:
1. Those who transition from female to male are eligible to compete in the male category without restriction.
2. Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
2.1. The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
2.2. The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
2.3. The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
2.4. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.
2) Hyperandrogenism in female athletes
In response to the interim award dated 24 July 2015 in Chand v AFI and IAAF CAS 2014/A/3759, the IOC Consensus Meeting recommended:
- Rules should be in place for the protection of women in sport and the promotion of the principles of fair competition.
- The IAAF, with support from other International Federations, National Olympic Committees and other sports organisations, is encouraged to revert to CAS with arguments and evidence to support the reinstatement of its hyperandrogenism rules.
- To avoid discrimination, if not eligible for female competition the athlete should be eligible to compete in male competition.