The International Olympic Committee has come under fire from doctors and scientists for promoting a political agenda over science.
The new transgender framework, due to be released after the upcoming Winter Games, won’t even require males to lower their testosterone before competing in the female category.
Experts from multiple sports federations, including World Athletics, World Triathlon and the International Cycling Union, say “it opens the door to unfair competition in female sport”.
…scientists, who are linked with the International Federation of Sports Medicine and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, want the IOC to think again. Writing in the British Medical Journal Open Science & Exercise Medicine, they also point out that the IOC’s new position that there should be “no presumption of performance advantage” for trans women “is in stark contrast with the outcome of the 2015 IOC consensus, the scientific evidence, and the subsequent assessment of numerous sports medicine associations/commissions”.
The statement, which is signed by 38 authors, including the head of World Athletics’ medical department, the medical director of cycling’s ruling body the UCI and the chair of World Rowing’s medicine commission, also calls on the IOC to set formal standards, based on competitive fairness and the best available science, for sports to follow.
One of the authors, Yannis Pitsiladis, told the Guardian: “We believe this position statement is very important because it will force the IOC to open the debate. Yes, the inclusion of human rights is absolutely essential. But equally important is the inclusion of scientific and medical principles in determining a solution. And the IOC framework is not based on medical and scientific principles.”
Some scientists suggest lowering testosterone will ensure fairness while others say that males will still retain other advantages of being male such as bone density, blood volume and lung capacity. They claim sporting bodies will have to choose which athletes they will prioritise – transgender or women.
Kirralie Smith, spokeswoman for Binary, said women’s sport should be for females only.
“Science overwhelmingly supports the view that biological males retain unfair advantage over females in sport,” she said.
“This biological reality is evidenced by the strength, stamina and speed of male competitors. Appropriating sex does not negate these scientific facts.”
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