Athlete Ally Responds to World Triathlon Transgender Policy

August 4, 2022 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that World Triathlon, the global sport governing body for triathlon, has approved a new Transgender Policy which allows transgender women to compete in the women’s category under certain conditions.

The Policy, which will go into effect in 29 days, states: “To compete in the female category in an elite or age-group triathlon competition, a transgender athlete must demonstrate that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 2.5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least 24 months. Also, at least 48 months must have elapsed since the Transgender athlete has competed as a male in any sporting competition.”

The first aspect of this, the “less than 2.5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least 24 months” stipulation, is a change from the former International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines which required 1 year at 10nmol/L. The second aspect, requiring 48 months to have elapsed, is called a “cap tie” rule, and will require many athletes to sit out for longer than the nmol/L requirement. The policy lacks an open category, which will force nonbinary athletes to participate under a gender category that doesn’t fit their identity. 

“World Triathlon’s policy is more closely aligned with the International Olympic Committee’s Framework for Inclusion than other recent policies, and allows transgender women to participate, which is a win. However, it missed an opportunity to lead the way for International Federations by omitting nonbinary athletes,” said Chris Mosier, Consultant for Athlete Ally and Founder of TransAthlete.Com. “World Triathlon’s procedure engaged sport scientists, university experts, IOC Human Rights experts, and transgender & nonbinary athletes. Every International Federation should take note of this process – there should be no rush to make a policy without consulting key players.

To my knowledge, there is not, nor has there ever been a trans woman competing at an elite level in triathlon. This is not to say that policies can’t be made before trans athletes are there, but policies must also consider this reality. 

Triathlon is an incredibly special sport that has given me so much. Every transgender and nonbinary person deserves to experience that same magic in a way that affirms who they are.”