New guidelines from the International Olympic Committee have suggested that trans-identified males who wish to compete in women's sports should not have to reduce their testosterone limits.
The new IOC policies replace the 2015 guidelines, and go so far as to state that there should be "no presumption" that trans-identified males have an automatic advantage over biological females – a claim that reverses previous IOC positions.
According to the document, "Until evidence determines otherwise, athletes should not be deemed to have an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance, or transgender status."
In previous guidelines, the IOC had stated that trans-identified males should suppress their testosterone levels to under 10 n/mol per litre for at least 12 months to compete. While it the guidelines are not legally building and it is ultimately up to individual sporting bodies to determine their own regulations, the IOC is no longer encouraging any testosterone suppression whatsoever.
In 2020, the British Journal of Sports Medicine released the results of a study which found that trans-identified male athletes retained a 12% competitive advantage up to two years after beginning hormone therapy – and suggested that the IOC's rules were already too lenient.
The research stated that “more than 12 months of testosterone suppression may be needed to ensure that transgender women do not have an unfair competitive advantage when participating in elite level athletic competition."
Despite this, the IOC has apparently concluded that the assumption of a biological male competetive advantage over females is effectively "not verified."
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