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International Olympic Committee releases new guidelines on transgender athletes

IOC outlined 10 principles that it described as “grounded on the respect for internationally recognized human rights” that sports competitions should follow. A key part of the document is the removal of the requirement for athletes to undergo hormone level modifications to compete.

Photo by Steven Lelham from Unsplash.com

Pro-LGBTQIA, but non-binding?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a new framework for transgender and intersex athletes.

In a six-page document, the IOC outlined 10 principles that it described as “grounded on the respect for internationally recognized human rights” that sports competitions should follow.

A key part of the document is the removal of the requirement for athletes to undergo hormone level modifications to compete. “Athletes should never be pressured… to undergo medically unnecessary procedures or treatment to meet eligibility criteria,” IOC stated, adding that “criteria to determine eligibility for a gender category should not include gynecological examinations or similar forms of invasive physical examinations, aimed at determining an athlete’s sex, sex variations or gender.”

Nonetheless – and this is worth highlighting – the framework that was said to have been developed following an “extensive consultation” with athletes, other sports organizations and experts in the fields of human rights, law and medicine is not legally binding. Instead, the IOC only wants to “offer sorting bodies… a principled approach to develop their criteria that are applicable to their sport.”

In the end, “this (document) recognizes both the need to ensure everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sex variations, can practice sport in a safe, harassment-free environment that recognizes their needs and identities, and the interest of everyone – particularly athletes at elite level – to participate in fair competitions where no participant has an unfair and disproportionate advantage over the rest,” IOC stated

The new framework replaces a 2015 IOC guideline that put a limit on athletes’ testosterone levels, requiring some to undergo treatments. Prior to 2015, the IOC required athletes to undergo genital surgery.

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