March 23, 2023 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport of athletics, covering track and field, cross country running, road running, race walking, mountain running, and ultra running, has released new eligibility criteria banning transgender women from participation in women’s world ranking competitions, starting on March 31st (which is also Transgender Day of Visibility). For athletes with intersex traits, the new regulations will require them to reduce their testosterone levels below a limit of 2.5 nmol/L for a minimum of 24 months to compete internationally in the female category in any event, not just the events that were restricted (400m to one mile) under the previous regulations.
“We are beyond devastated to see World Athletics succumbing to political pressure instead of core principles of inclusion, fairness and non-discrimination for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex traits,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “The guidelines announced today go against inclusive guidelines from the International Olympic Committee as well as extensive research showing that transgender women do not have an inherent advantage in sport. Sebastian Coe states that these guidelines are an attempt to protect women’s sport, but in fact these guidelines do nothing to address what we know to be the actual, proven threats to women’s sports: unequal pay, rampant sexual abuse and harassment, lack of women in leadership and inequities in resources for women athletes.
What these guidelines mean on a human level is that a young transgender girl who dreams of one day seeing herself on an Olympic stage will now have those dreams cruelly dashed. For women with intersex traits, they will continue to be subjected to horrific sex testing practices and medically unnecessary surgery, gender-based violence and discrimination that has been documented by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. We will continue to push for World Athletics to look at the science, to center inclusion, and to speak directly with athletes affected by these criteria in order to develop a policy that allows all athletes access to the sport they love.”
“World Athletics’ decision to ban all transgender women and place harsh restrictions on athletes with intersex traits does not protect the integrity of women’s sports and only further policing of women’s bodies,” said Chris Mosier, Founder of Transathlete.com, two-time National Champion and Team USA multisport athlete. “Each time an International Federation makes a policy that bans transgender athletes, we see a trickle down effect to other policies. The real impact will be felt by youth athletes around the world who are now unable to pursue their athletic dreams, and who are bombarded with messages from sports organizations and lawmakers telling them that they do not belong and don’t deserve the same opportunities as their peers to experience the joy, connections, and camaraderie that comes with playing sports.”