British Female Olympians Want IOC to Suspend ‘Unfair’ Transgender Rules

AP Photo via Dallas Morning News/Jae S. Lee

Some natural-born female Olympians are now demanding that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspend rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as women.

According to the Guardian, a survey of 15 British female Olympians found that most feel that allowing transgenders to compete alongside natural-born female athletes is likely unfair to the women and they want more research before new rules are made.

The survey taken anonymously of the 15 competitors found that eleven agreed with the statement that “it can never be fair for transgender athletes who have been through male puberty to compete in female sport.”

Cathy Devine, who conducted the survey, said that the group of female Olympians had won a combined 56 world championship medals for the UK.

Most of the participants were not publicly named, but two who were named include Tessa Sanderson, the 1984 Olympic javelin Gold Medalist, and 1980 swimming Silver Medalist Sharron Davies. Sanderson and Davies have both spoken out against allowing transgender athletes in women’s sport.

Another issue Devine found vexing natural-born female Olympians was the lack of consultation the IOC perpetrated when crafting the transgender allowances. Athletes feel that the IOC did not take enough time to talk about the proposals with women Olympians before summarily enacting the rules.

The IOC guidelines in question read as follows: “It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition. The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. To require surgical anatomical changes as a precondition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.”

It is bad enough that these guidelines were put in place without consulting the Olympians who would be affected, but the testosterone levels are even higher than most other leagues that have put similar rules into effect, the paper said.

As the paper noted, the usual testosterone level in natural-born women is “between 0.06 and 1.68nmols/L.” While, “The typical range for men is 7.7 to 29.4nmols/L. The IOC is close to introducing new guidelines requiring transgender athletes to lower their testosterone even further, to 5nmols/L, if they want to compete in women’s sport.”

One respondent to the survey was quite specific as to her complaint about the transgender rule.

“New guidelines do not level the playing field, or protect our human rights to equal opportunities,” the Olympian wrote. “There was not enough science-based research on elite athletes to make rules. It’s a live experiment where female athletes will lose out until the obvious is proved. Then it will be changed. That’s not fair.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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