World Athletics new regulations: transgender women banned from female athletics events.
Fabiana Alves Castro
Women’s Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
On Thursday, March 23rd, the World Athletics Council decided to ban transgender women from competing in female track and field events. Such decision was based “on the overarching need to protect the female category”. (DW, 2023)
The announced regulations will come into force on March 31st, prohibiting athletes who have gone through “male puberty” from participating in female world rankings competitions. (Morse, 2023) It also changed the regulations for athletes who have Differences of Sexual Development (DSD), requiring the reduction of their testosterone levels to below a limit of 2.5 nmol/L for a minimum of 24 months to compete internationally in the female category in any event. (World Athletics, 2023) Previously, regulations regarding DSD athletes required women to maintain testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter, in events between 400 meters and a mile. (Ewing, 2023)
Sebastian Coe, the World Athletics president, declared in a statement: “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount”. (World Athletics, 2023) Coe further stressed that World Athletics would form a task force to study the issue of transgender inclusion over the next 12 months: “We’re not saying no forever”. (Morse, 2023)
The announcement was received with criticism by pro-LGBTQ rights groups. For instance, Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of the advocacy group Athlete Ally, defended that the decision was not in accordance with core principles of inclusion, fairness, and non-discrimination for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations. (Morse, 2023)
Sources and further reading:
Associated Press. (23 March, 2023). Track governing body bans transgender female athletes. NBC News. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/track-governing-body-bans-transgender-women-athletes-rcna76432
- (23 March, 2023). Transgender women banned from female athletics events. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://p.dw.com/p/4P9Ej
Ewing, L. (23 March, 2023). World governing body bans transgender women athletes. Reuters. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/world-governing-body-tightens-restrictions-transgender-dsd-athletes-2023-03-23/
Morse, B. (24 March, 2023). World Athletics tightens rules on transgender women athletes. CNN. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/23/sport/world-athletics-transgender-ruling-spt-intl
Perry, S. (23 March, 2023). World Athletics bans trans women from female events. Pink News. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/03/23/world-athletics-trans-women-female/
Rathborn, J. (24 March, 2023). World Athletics bans transgender women from women’s competition. Independent. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/athletics/transgender-world-athletics-women-ban-b2306906.html
World Athletics. (23 March, 2023). World Athletics Council decides on Russia, Belarus and female eligibility. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from https://www.worldathletics.org/news/press-releases/council-meeting-march-2023-russia-belarus-female-eligibility