IOC says transgender athletes should not have to lower testosterone to compete in U-turn

Laurel Hubbard: Olympic adviser discusses testosterone levels

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC), founded in 1894, has produced new guidelines detailing measures contrary to those previously taken by the organisation. The guidelines will therefore replace those from 2015 which called fro transgender women athletes to lower their testerone levels to a certain limit 12 months before their first competition.

IOC medical director Richard Budgett said: “You don’t need to use testosterone at all.”

Instead the IOC has branded sex testing to verify an athlete’s gender as “disrespectful” and “potentially harmful”.

They went on to label such tests as “invasive physical examinations”.

The IOC’s human rights head Magali Martowicz added: “We really want to make sure that athletes are not pressured or coerced into making a harmful decision about their bodies.”

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Despite the new guidelines, such measures are not legally binding.

The Guardian reports individual sports can still decide whether to follow the guidance and must consider fair and safe competition when doing so.

The body will therefore work with federations on a “case-by-case basis”.

The IOC athletes’ department director Keveh Mehrabi said: “What we are offering to all the international federations is our expertise and a dialogue, rather than jumping to a conclusion.”

According to the Guardian’s report, World Athletics does not plan to change its rules, which requires athletes with difference of sex development (DSD) to lower their testosterone in order to compete in distances between 400m and a mile.

The news comes after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, 43, made Olympic history as the first transgender athlete to compete at the coveted games in 125 years during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics earlier this year.

Talk Radio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, 53, responded to the news by writing on social media: “The end of elite women’s sport has just been announced.”

Olympic silver medallist swimmer Sharron Davies, 59, added on Twitter: “After 2 decades of the IOC ignoring DDR situation & letting down female athletes we are here again with a cowardly passing of the buck! How can testosterone be on the drug ban list but not an issue if born male in female sport? Men get fair sport women not.”

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But Sky News reports the IOC has responded to criticism by stating athletes should not be excluded due to “unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage[s] due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status”.

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