International Olympic Committee criticized on transgender guidance
The IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) guidance on transgender inclusion could weaken the integrity of sport, according to medical experts.
The guidance states that governing bodies should not assume transgender athletes have unfair advantages in female sport.
The IOC’s new framework states that individual federations must determine their own eligibility criteria in their sports.
It also states that testosterone levels alone are not enough to determine whether a competitor has an unfair advantage.
According to 2015 guidelines, transgender women were permitted to compete on the basis that their testosterone levels were below a certain level at least 12 months before a competition.
The new framework, announced in November, overrides this policy.
“You don’t need to use testosterone [to decide who can compete] at all. But this is guidance, it’s not an absolute rule,” said Richard Budgett, IOC medical director.
The new rules were developed over the last 2 years, and will be implemented after the Beijing Winter Olympics.
This month, medical experts announced the new guidance could ‘undermine the integrity of sport’.
38 medical experts have signed a statement questioning the move.
The experts, are made up of staff within the International Federation of Sports Medicine and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, claim that the guidance has been drafted purely from a human rights standpoint, without consideration for medical and scientific issues.
It was released in the British Medical Journal Open Sport and Exercise Medicine.
They also call for the IOC to set formal standards based on competitive fairness and the best available science.
In regards to the new framework, the experts say most federations don’t have the capacity to implement new guidance.
The statement reads: “As high testosterone concentrations can provide a baseline advantage for competitors in certain sports, high testosterone concentrations must be mitigated in the female category of these sports to maintain fairness and integrity.”
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