The World Athletics Council announced Thursday that female track and field events will exclude male-to-female transgender competitors.
The rule, which applies to all men who reached puberty as a male, takes effect March 31, according to a statement posted on the website of World Athletics.
The group is the governing body for international track and field events and its ruling covers elite competitions only.
The council said it spent the first two months of the year consulting with other partners in international athletics before coming up with its ruling.
“[T]he Council decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion,” the statement said.
Thank you to The World Athletics Council for protecting women’s sports. It’s time for the NCAA to step up and protect opportunities for young women.https://t.co/YNDc6Tl39a
— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) March 23, 2023
The statement said that over the next year, a group will hear from men who want to compete as women to determine if that stance should be changed.
“We’re not saying no forever,” council President Sebastian Coe said, according to the BBC.
“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” Coe said in the World Athletics Council statement.
Just to be clear, the decision is nothing more than saying males will not be allowed to participate in female sports.
Trans identified males are not being excluded from ALL competition, they can still compete in the category of their actual biological sexhttps://t.co/emEaEtu6AR
— Difficult Debates 🇮🇪 🦖 (@DifficulDebates) March 23, 2023
“We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount,” he said.
As noted by Sports Illustrated, the council’s initial plan had been to hold men who want to compete as women to very low testosterone levels. However, the statement noted, there was little support for that proposal.
CNN reported that a World Athletics document said men wanting to compete as women “retain an advantage in muscle mass, volume, and strength over cis women,” even after a year of hormone therapy.
WTF is going on with this headline?@BBCBreaking
Females aren’t banned from female competition. Males are.
BBC News – World Athletics bans transgender female athletes from competing in female world ranking eventshttps://t.co/A4Pkeii0Kh
— Sarah sticking with the truth (@sarah_owl3) March 23, 2023
Supporters of transgender athletes attacked the ruling.
“We are beyond devastated to see World Athletics succumbing to political pressure instead of core principles of inclusion, fairness and non-discrimination for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex traits,” Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally, said in a statement on the group’s website.
“The guidelines announced today go against inclusive guidelines from the International Olympic Committee as well as extensive research showing that transgender women do not have an inherent advantage in sport,” Taylor said.
The group Fair Play For Women had a different reaction, according to the Guardian.
“It is the right thing for women and girls, in line with all the scientific evidence and common sense. We now expect to see national federations follow the lead given to them by World Athletics, to restore the talent pathway for girls and young women, and to reinstate fair sport for women of all ages,” its statement said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.