The International Athletics Federation banned transgender people from participating in women’s competitions

This was reported by the head of the entity, Sebastian Coe. “We’re not going to say no forever,” he stressed

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3000 meter obstacle test during the 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: EFE/ Juan Ignacio Roncoroni
3000 meter obstacle test during the 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: EFE/ Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

It’s a controversial measure, but not permanent. The fact is that World Athletics, the international athletics federation, has agreed that transgender athletes will not be able to compete in the women’s category in international events.

The president of the organization, Sebastian Coe, stated in the last few hours that as of March 31, no transgender athlete who has experienced male puberty will be allowed to participate in competitions that score for the world ranking.

The director also added that a working group will be created to continue researching the eligibility guidelines for transsexuals. “We’re not going to say no forever,” the official stressed. The head of the international entity also added that the decision is “guided by the general principle of protecting the female category”.

In any case, the highest body of international athletics is moving towards equality with a policy of representation and inclusion that encourages women to play an ever greater role with the objective, in the medium term, of achieving real gender equality.

On March 8, when International Women’s Day was celebrated, World Athletics published a series of new commitments that include the expansion of the solidarity fund with Ukraine, to help athletes affected by the invasion of Russia that has been going on for more than a year, as well as several actions aimed at improving gender equality in this sport and reducing the existing gap between men and women.

With the We Grow Athletics campaign, which had its third edition this year, the institution seeks to continue achieving “substantial progress in eliminating gender prejudice in athletics”. “I am immensely proud that global athletics is leading the way to gender equality in sport. That was an important part of the reforms we introduced in 2016 and now I believe that in today’s world it is not enough to provide equal opportunities, but that we must provide equity,” said British Sebastian Coe.

The initiative was in line with the decision taken by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), which in June 2022 held an election in which it refused to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in elite events for women if they have gone through any stage of the male puberty process.

The new measure ensures that transgender competitors have completed their transition before the age of 12 to be able to participate in women’s competitions. In addition, the organization seeks to establish an “open” category for the swimming competitions of participants whose gender identities are different from those assigned to them at birth.

The position, which was approved by 71% of the votes of the 152 members of the entity, was described as “just a first step towards the full inclusion” of transgender athletes.

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