Olympics: IOC to Update Guidelines for Transgender Women

Olympics: IOC to Update Guidelines for Transgender Women

08.09.21
Photo: James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
08.09.21

The International Olympic Committee officials said the guidelines governing the participation of transgender women in Olympic sports are outdated and plan to annouce new policies after the summer games.

The IOC admitted the statement as New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Tokyo Games. 

Hubbard competed alongside women under guidelines established in 2015 by the IOC and adopted by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Many medical experts and policymakers have come to the conclusion in recent years that the IOC’s rules were no longer fully supported by science. 

Experts identified two main shortcomings: That testosterone-related rules were too lenient, and that one set of guidelines should not apply to dozens of different sports. 

The current guidelines require a transgender woman to undergo hormone therapy and suppress her testosterone. But Myron Genel, a Yale endocrinologist, said the guidelines were set “based on old data, and not on the most sophisticated ways of measuring testosterone.” 

Richard Budgett, the IOC’s medical and scientific director, acknowledged that “agreeing on another number is almost impossible and possibly irrelevant. You can debate that endlessly.”

“[Given] there’s been no openly transgender women at the top level, until now, I think the threat to women’s sports in general is probably overstated,” Budgett said, according to Yahoo Sports. “And the other important thing to remember is transgender women are women. So you’ll include all women, if you possibly can.”