LAUSANNE (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday (November 16) that no athlete should be excluded from competition due to a perceived unfair advantage due to their gender when posting a new framework on transgender inclusion.
The governing body added, however, that it was unable to issue regulations defining eligibility criteria for each sport, leaving it to the federations to determine whether an athlete had a disproportionate advantage.
“The framework is not legally binding. What we are offering to all international federations is our expertise and dialogue, rather than jumping to a conclusion,” said IOC Athletes Department Director Keveh Mehrabi.
“It’s a process that we have to go through with each federation on a case-by-case basis and see what is required.”
The 10-point document, which was prepared over a two-year period in consultation with more than 250 athletes and other stakeholders, will be rolled out after the Beijing Winter Games next year, replacing the guidelines published in 2015. .
The new framework also departs from the old policy that transgender athletes would be allowed to compete provided their testosterone levels were below a certain limit for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.
“You don’t have to use testosterone at all (to decide who can compete). But this is only a guide, not a hard and fast rule,” said the IOC medical director , Richard Budgett.
The new framework comes just months after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard in Tokyo became the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics.
The IOC also said the sexual tests and “invasive physical exams” used to verify an athlete’s gender were “disrespectful” and “potentially harmful”.
“We really want to make sure that athletes are not under pressure or strain to make a damaging decision about their body,” said Magali Martowicz, IOC Human Rights Officer.