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23rd Mar 2023

World Athletics excludes transgender women from women’s competition

Charlie Herbert

World Athletics announces trans ban

The ban will come into effect from March 31

World Athletics has banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s competition.

The sport’s governing body announced on Thursday that it would exclude male-to-female transgender athletes, who have gone through male puberty, from female competition.

The announcement was made by the president of World Athletics, Lord Sebastian Coe, at the 230th World Athletics Council.

According to the Times’ Martyn Ziegler, Lord Coe said no biological males who have gone through puberty will be allowed into the female category in track and field from March 31.

A working party, which will include a trans athlete, will be set up to look at the issue further.

Its remit will be to “consult specifically with transgender athletes to seek views on competing in athletics”.

“We’re not saying no forever,” Coe said.

But he added the decision was “guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category”.

Lord Coe told a news conference in Monaco: “The council has agreed to exclude male-to-female transgender athletes, who have been through male puberty, from female world ranking competitions from 31 March.

“In January, World Athletics said it was consulting with member federations on a proposal to change the rules on participation of transgender women in female competitions.

“The issue is thorny as sports try to strike a balance between inclusivity and making sure there is no unfair advantage.”

The debate around which category of transgender people should be allowed to compete in has raged on for a number of years now, with a particular focus on whether transgender women who were born male should be allowed to compete in female categories.

Last month, UK Athletics said it wanted legislation to ensure the women’s category is lawfully reserved for competitors who are recorded female at birth.

The governing body says all transgender athletes should be allowed to compete with men in an open category.

In recent years, athletes such as Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, British cyclist Emily Bridges and American swimmer Lia Thomas have brought the debate to the fore.

In many sports, trans women are required to take medication to lower their testosterone levels in order to make sure they are not at an unfair advantage to their female competitors.

But some argue that by going through male puberty, trans women have a biological advantage to their competitors in the female category that cannot be overcome by simply lowering their testosterone levels.

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WBC President reveals plans to introduce transgender category for boxing