The International Olympic committee (IOC) has failed, again, to deliver an appropriate and fair update to their transgender rules.
The IOC's medical and scientific director Richard Budgett agrees an update is needed but it is proving too difficult at this stage. In the past, he noted that “inclusion” is more important than “fairness” at lower levels and that the framework could differentiate between elite and amateur competition.
He has now indicated that the IOC cannot agree on an appropriate framework, but his priority is “inclusion” and the “avoidance of harm”.
“It’s challenging, but it will be published in a few months’ time – at the latest just after the Beijing Olympic Winter Games.”
“We’re very aware that sex, of course, is not binary.
“It’s a continuum, the sectors overlap – and so the solutions are not essentially going to be binary.
“Transgender women are women, but we also have to separate gender from eligibility.
“And eligibility needs to be sport specific in order to have this fair and meaningful competition at all levels, but especially at the elite level, where the stakes are that much higher.
“There’s going to be different criteria for different sports.
“If you compare archery to hockey to rowing, they require very different skills and an elite athlete from one is unlikely to be an elite athlete in another.
“And we have to determine what really is a disproportionate or insurmountable advantage.”
The guidelines need to be reviewed and updated as it is clear that testosterone is not the only factor determining safety and fairness in sport. There has been an indication from Budgett that the new “framework would not solely focus on testosterone, citing safety as one of the considerations needed in the new guidelines”.
Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, said Budgett’s comments were nonsensical.
“As a medical and scientific director, it is mind boggling that Budgett would say sex is not binary,” she said.
“There is only male or female. In extremely rare circumstances there is a disorder which has a combination of male or female sex characteristics but there is no evidence of a third sex.
“There are only x or y chromosomes, small or large gametes (sperm or eggs), male or female hormones. No third option exists. Sex is binary.
“It is also incredible to state that transwomen are women when he gives no definition of the term woman. Transwomen are male despite the costumes they wear, the daily drug regime they are on or any surgery they undergo.”