Global governing body set to keep the door open for transgender women to compete at the highest level under controversial new proposals
World Athletics is consulting its member federations with a preferred option to tighten rules around transgender athletes but not ban them entirely from competing in the female category.
The proposals would see the maximum plasma testosterone level allowed in transgender women athletes and those with differences in sex development (DSD) reduced to half from 5 nanomoles per litre to 2.5 nmol/L. In addition, the athletes would have to stay below the permitted level for two years rather than one year.
World Athletics said that putting forward a preferred option was “the best way to gather constructive feedback, but this does not mean this is the option that will be presented to council or indeed adopted” and they plan to consult more widely in the coming weeks.
“In terms of our female eligibility regulations, we will follow the science and the decade and more of the research we have in this area in order to protect the female category, maintain fairness in our competitions and remain as inclusive as possible,” the governing body added.
Few female athletes have spoken out, presumably due to fear of being lambasted on social media, but British shot putter Amelia Strickler told the Telegraph: “I mean, the women’s shot is half the weight (of the men’s). Apart from all the strength they’ve gained over the years, there is the height advantage, the wingspan, all the things hormones can’t replace… hip angles, lung capacity etc. Training would be easier for them. That’s just a fact.
“I am genuinely worried. This is my career. If it comes into effect in March, then by March 2025 that could be me retiring,” said Strickler.
“The fact that World Athletics, one of the biggest, has not [put] its foot down, I think it is really, really upsetting. I think these rules really could open the floodgates,” she added. “If I get social media backlash I don’t really care. If no one says anything, we’re all screwed.”
The proposals are set to be voted on in March.