World Athletics is tightening the rules for transgender athletes

(CNN) World Athletics (WA) announced new rules Thursday affecting transgender women athletespreventing some from competing in women’s track and field.

The announced regulations, which take effect on March 31, prohibit athletes who have passed what has been called “male puberty” from participating in women’s world ranking competitions. W said the exception would apply to “male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty.”

“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that justice for athletes must be kept above all other considerations,” said World Athletics Team President Sebastian Coe he said in a statement.

“We will be guided in this by the science of physical performance and the male advantage that will inevitably evolve over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe that the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

Coe said the decision came after deliberations with groups that include World Athletics member federations, the World Athletics Coaches Academy, the Athletes’ Commission and the International Olympic Committee, as well as transgender representatives and human rights groups.

He explained that World Athletics – the world’s governing body for track and field – will set up a working group to assess the issue of transgender inclusion over the next 12 months.

He said, “We don’t say no forever.”

In recent years, some opponents of the participation of transgender women and girls in sports have turned the issue into a political hotbed. In January, a small group of protesters Collected outside of NCAA convention in San Antonio to protest the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s college sports.

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Advocates for banning trans women from women’s sports have argued that trans women have a physical advantage over cisgender women in sports.

However, mainstream science does not support this conclusion. A 2017 report in the Journal of Sports Medicine that reviewed several relevant studies found that there was “no direct or consistent research” on transgender people having an athletic advantage over their cisgender peers, and critics say the ban adds to the discrimination trans people face. sexually.

The debate in the scientific community as to whether androgen hormones such as testosterone serve as useful markers of athletic advantage continues.

A global athletics document obtained by CNN earlier this year states that trans women “retain an advantage in muscle mass, size and strength over cis women” after 12 months of gender-affirming hormone therapy, acknowledging There is “limited empirical data present” on this.

In a statement Thursday, World Athletics said: “It became clear that there was little support within the sport for the option first presented to stakeholders, which would require transgender athletes to maintain their testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for 24 hours.” months to be eligible to compete internationally in the female category.”

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