In a move sure to spark widespread backlash from the LGBTQIA+ community, World Athletics has officially banned transgender athletes from competing in female sports.
The governing body, which supervises international track and field, announced the new set of rules Thursday. Male-to-female transgender players who have completed male puberty may no longer compete in track, cross country, road running, and other running-type sports. This regulation will go into effect on March 31st. The controversial decision came after two months of deliberations with the Global Athletics Coaches Academy, the Athletes’ Commission, and transgender and human rights groups.
While the organization looks to prioritize the integrity of women’s sports over inclusion, they have committed to exploring how to allow transgender women to compete in the future. For this reason, World Athletics will establish a committee within a year to explore how transgender women can reasonably participate. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe pledged that as science continues to evolve, the organization would continue to review its stance and make adjustments.
Hudson Taylor, the founder of Athlete Ally, a group that advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights in sports, slammed World Athletics for discrimination.
“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,” Athlete Ally said in a statement posted to its website.
We are beyond devastated to see @WorldAthletics succumbing to political pressure instead of core principles of inclusion, fairness and non-discrimination for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations. (1/4) https://t.co/TySFTeTE93
— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) March 23, 2023
Though the news is disappointing to some, there have been several movements in recent years to limit the participation of transwomen in all-female sports. In January, protesters, including cisgender University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, assembled outside the NCAA Convention in San Antonio to speak out against transgender women competing in all-female sports.