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International Olympic Committee flags changes to trans inclusion rules

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stated that it plans to overhaul its criteria for the inclusion of trans athletes.

Admitting that the current rules are unfit for purpose, the IOC intends to release new guidelines in the next two months, The Guardian has reported.

This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo are the first ever to include several trans and non-binary athletes.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has made history as the first openly trans woman in competition.

Her participation in this year’s Games – as well as other events over the last several years – has sparked controversy over whether and under what conditions trans women should be permitted to compete in women’s events.

The IOC’s current guidelines allowed Hubbard to participate based on having a testosterone level below 10 nmol/L for 12 months.

IOC medical and science director Dr Richard Budgett said that current science reflects no possible “one size fits all” approach to hormones.

“At the time, the 10 nmol/L was set because we thought that was the lower level for men,” he said. 

“We know now that they go down to seven, and women can be higher as well. 

“Agreeing on another number is almost impossible and possibly irrelevant. You can debate that endlessly.”

Dr Budgett downplayed the idea that trans women were a threat or possessed an unfair advantage in sport.

“If you don’t want to take any risks at all that anyone might have an advantage, then you just stop everybody,” he said. 

“If you are prepared to extrapolate from the evidence there is, and consider the fact there have been no openly transgender women at the top level until now, I think the threat to women’s sport has probably been overstated.

“The other important thing to remember is that trans women are women. 

“You have got to include all women if you possibly can.”

Dr Budgett said that the new guidelines would focus on both safety and fairness.

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