Tag Archives: Laurel Hubbard

38 Medical Scientists appeal to IOC over transgender Rule

A lineup of 38 medical experts and sports insiders have signed a statement criticizing the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new framework on transgender athletes, issuing a warning over fairness as part of the debate.

After pledging to revise the guidelines amid fierce controversy over the issue at the Olympic Games in 2021, the governing body concluded that trans women would not be required to lower their testosterone to compete against rivals born as women – one of the cornerstones of the row for those who argue that transitioned athletes have an advantage over their opponents.

The reappraisal appeared to have been partly made in response to high-profile cases including Laurel Hubbard, the New Zealander who briefly competed at the Games in super-heavyweight weighlifting.

Testosterone level regulations have come in for further questioning because of the rise of Lia Thomas, a former male competitor who has broken records at college level as a female swimmer in the US in recent months.

Some campaigners for a change to the rules have suggested that groups and individuals are afraid to speak out publicly because they fear repercussions from others who passionately claim that more restrictive measures threaten the basic rights of transgender athletes.

Now the group of scientists and sports professionals, including members of World Athletics and World Triathlon, have written to the IOC to say that the framework is more focused on inclusion than science around gender and performance.

The authors, who are said to be associated with the International Federation of Sports Medicine and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, appealed to the IOC to revisit the guidance in the British Medical Journal Open Science & Exercise Medicine.

They say that the presumption of transgender athletes having no presumed advantage offers a “stark contrast” to the previous ruling by the IOC in 2015, scientific evidence and the findings of various groups and research.

Trans women could be allowed to compete in female sport, the scientists say, by lowering testosterone.

Thomas took testosterone suppressants for a year before being backed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the US to compete.

Cycling and rowing chiefs are among the leaders urging the IOC to set standards based on fairness and science.

While some scientists argue that the evidence around transgender athletes having advantages is inconclusive, others are convinced that trans individuals benefit in competition when they are born as men, with many going through puberty before transitioning.

Professor Jurgen Steinacker told Sportsmail that transwomens’ choices to compete should be respected but that fairness had to be “bi-directional”.

“In this case, I think what they are doing is unfair on females,” the chair of World Rowing’s Sports Medicine Commission said.

“Sport is inclusive but it is inclusive until it comes to winning medals. If you want to compete as a female in sport, you face biological disadvantages compared to cisgender males that must be mitigated against.

“We need to set a limit that respects the right of females to compete on equal terms. If you create a definition of gender that is based on social rather than biological differences, then you effectively destroy the female category.”

Professor Steinacker’s remarks echoed the views of a reported letter from parents of Thomas’s rivals which warned that the integrity of women’s sports is at risk over the issue.

Former international pentathlete Kirsti Miller, who competed for Australia and later revealed she was transgender while working at a jail in 2000, issued a lengthy social media response to one report of the petition.

Miller said that the last nine Olympic Games had featured two openly transgender athletes, neither of whom threatened to earn a medal.

“Sadly, [one report of the petition] still doesn’t get that there is no relationship between unaltered endogenous testosterone in males or females and sport performance,” she claimed.

“In fact, there is no clear biological list of features that allow us to even remotely cleanly separate men from women.”

Lawsuits in several US states have achieved varying levels of success in bids to bar transgender athletes from competing in female college sports.

The new IOC framework is set to be implemented after the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which run from February 4-20 2022.

source: rt.com

Transgender women to run Boston Marathon for first time

The Boston Marathon will welcome five transgender women in its race on April 16 for the first time ever. Organizers say they will allow any runner to compete under their self-identified gender.

The decision has sparked controversy within the road-racing community, some of whom believe female trans runners have an inherent advantage over their rivals, including vital increased levels of stamina.

“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race, the Boston Herald reported.

“Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”

Founded in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual race in the world, and one of the most prestigious meetings in the marathon calendar; the 42.2km race attracted over 30,000 participants in 2015.

Bob Girandola, associate professor in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Southern California, observed that if transgender runners produce higher levels of testosterone than their female competitors, that’s an issue.

“If they still have male gonads, they will have an advantage over other women – there is no way around that,” he said. “It gives them an unfair advantage. Maybe they have to have a separate category if they’re going to do that. It’s a dilemma.”

However, others argue that women undergoing hormone treatment therapy suffer side-effects such as sluggishness, dehydration and reduced stamina, and therefore gain no athletic advantage.

“That’s a misconception and a myth,” said Dr Alex Keuroghlian, director of education and training programs at the Fenway Institute, a health and advocacy center for Boston’s LGBT community. “There’s no physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth.”

One male-born runner planning to participate in Boston legally changed gender and began living openly as a woman, but isn’t undergoing hormone treatment. Stevie Romer, from Illinois, registered to run as a woman “because that’s what she is.”

Another female transgender athlete to make headlines recently is weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, whose participation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games was opposed by critics who said she had a natural advantage over other competitors.

Hubbard, who was favorite for gold in the women’s 90kg-plus, suffered an elbow injury while attempting a Commonwealth record 132 kg lift. The weightlifter, whose birth name is Gavin, competed as a man in international weightlifting competitions until 2014 before undergoing gender reassignment.