SURVEY: Female Olympians Upset at Olympic Committee Over Transgender Rules

EUGENE, OR – JULY 7: From left, Shannon Rowbury (L), Sara Sutherland and Jenny Simpson race during the first round of the women’s 1,500 meters during Day 7 of the Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field on July 7, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Daniel Petty/The Denver Post)

A small survey conducted by a British academic shows that a vast majority of British athletes surveyed feel that the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) rules on transgender female athletes are unfair to biological females.

“In the survey of 15 female British Olympians, most of them answering anonymously, 11 also agreed with the view that ‘it can never be fair for transgender athletes who have been through male puberty to compete in female sport,’ with another declining to answer,” according to The Guardian. 

Cathy Devine, who conducted the study, will report her finding at St Mary’s University in London on Wednesday. The IOC’s rules on transgender female athletes, updated in 2015, allow all transgender females – whether they have undergone sex change surgery or not – to compete in any sport, as long as they have dropped their serum testosterone levels to 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 10 months.

Tessa Sanderson, a 1984 Olympic javelin gold medallist, and Sharron Davies, who won a silver medal in swimming in 1980, were two of the respondents to the survey.

“Devine said those surveyed have won seven Olympic and 56 world championship medals between them,” the report said. “She defended the small number of athletes in the study, saying it was a starting point as athletes often did not want to speak out for fear of recriminations.”

One anonymous respondent to the survey said the policy was “unfair.”

“New guidelines do not level the playing field, or protect our human rights to equal opportunities,” she reportedly said. “There was not enough science-based research on elite athletes to make rules. It’s a live experiment where female athletes will lose out until the obvious is proved. Then it will be changed. That’s not fair.”

The IOC defended their decision in to include transgender females. The organization said:

“It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition. The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. To require surgical anatomical changes as a precondition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.”

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