World Athletics has decided to ban trans women from competing in the female category in their elite competitions. Once again, sports organisations are excluding a community that is barely present within elite sport. Sport should be for everyone.

World Athletics bans trans women

World Athletics has banned trans women from competing in the elite female category. World Athletics is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. World Athletics president, Lord Coe, delivered the news this week.

Trans women who have gone through a male puberty are not allowed to compete in the female category at international events. All trans athletes have to reduce their testosterone levels to 2.5 nanomoles per litre for at least six months. Otherwise, the sports federation will bar them from competing.

World Athletics made this decision to seemingly ‘protect the future of the female category’. They are not protecting anyone. They are attacking trans women and trans rights on the false basis of fairness. The ban will come into effect on March 21st 2023.

World Athletics is not the only sports federation banning trans women from competing. World Rugby, World Swimming (FINA), and the Rugby Football League all banned trans women from female sport.

New report shows trans women have no biomedical advantage in sport

World Athletics has unfairly targeted trans athletes. A new report has suggested trans women likely do not have any biomedical advantage in elite sport. The report is an in-depth ‘review of scientific literature on transgender athlete participation in competitive sport’ that was published between 2011 and 2021.

This report found that trans women do not pose a biomedical threat to cis women in sport. While there is no biomedical advantage, social factors like nutrition and training qualities may affect this result.

Even if trans women were to have an advantage, they would nonetheless not pose a threat to cis athletes. This is mainly because there simply are not enough trans athletes to begin with. Discrimination in the sports federations is still present, evidenced by World Athletics and their ban. There are only a handful trans people competing at elite level. Meaning, that the research surrounding the advantages of trans people in sport is limited.

Sports organisations are targeting trans women. Government policies need to become more trans-inclusive in order to offer better protection for all trans athletes. Despite World Athletics’ ban, trans women are unlikely to pose any real threat to cis female athletes. Banning trans women from competing in the female category in elite sports is transphobic and has no place in our society.