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International Olympic Committee Announces Transgender Athlete Guidelines

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

The International Olympic Committee updated its transgender elite athlete guidelines this week in an effort to “preserve” fairness in women’s sports following backlash from its previous guidelines. 


The new guidelines, first reported by Daily Mail, come after previous guidelines stated that there should be “no presumption of advantage” for transgender athletes:

The IOC's existing framework on 'fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations' was published in November of last year, with 10 categories, or 'principles'. The new, 5,188-word statement deals with each in turn, clarifying them for the benefit of individual sport's ruling bodies.

It addresses the position that there should be 'no presumption of advantage' for trans women hoping to compete in the female category. 

The new statement says: 'Principle 4 [fairness] recognises that sports organisations may at times need to issue eligibility criteria for sex-segregated competition to maintain a fair and proportionate distribution of competitive advantages among participants.

'It also recognises the particular importance of advancing equality for women in sport and preserving fair and meaningful competition for elite women athletes, which may require criteria that limit eligibility in some cases.'

The International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) co-published a position paper in January saying that the statement 'was drafted mainly from a human rights perspective'. The influential FIMS paper had 38 signatories, many of them leading sports scientists and physicians.


Reportedly, sports scientists and physicians linked to the IOC were “overlooked” when the original statement was drafted. The current statement advises sports federations to consider the “current state of scientific and medical knowledge as well as ethical, legal, human rights and social considerations” when it comes to transgender athletes. But, the IOC also suggested that individual sports should determine their own policies surrounding trans athletes based on the “physical demands” of the sport.

Three-time Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson spoke out against the guidelines in an interview with Fox News. She said the intent of the IOC is “fuzzy” on whether or not transgender athletes should be allowed to compete with women. 

 "We have over a dozen peer-reviewed studies that state that no amount of testosterone suppression mitigates the advantage of being born male," she told Fox. "So even though we have all this scientific evidence out there now that this is not fair to women, they're very much advocating for the inclusion of the transgender athletes at the elite level,” she said, adding that it is “heartbreaking.”


Earlier this month, Townhall covered how a biological female hockey player was injured by a biological male athlete in an “all trans” hockey tournament backed by the NHL. In a video of the incident, the female was shoved to the ground by the male athlete and players could be heard screaming to get a medic and a stretcher. Reportedly, the biological female who was injured left the rink with a concussion.

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