World Athletics vote to ban transgender women

STORY: World Athletics voted on Thursday to ban transgender women from competing in elite female competitions and tightened testosterone restrictions for other athletes.

"The Council has agreed to exclude male to female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from female world ranking competitions from March 31 this year."

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said that the decision to exclude transgender women who had gone through what he called male puberty was based on what he said was "the overarching need to protect the female category."

The new rules will also impact athletes with what is known as "differences in sex development," or DSD.

The most famous might be South Africa's two-time Olympic 800-meter winner Caster Semenya, who has XY chromosomes and blood testosterone levels in the male range.

The council vote will require DSD athletes such as Semenya and Namibia's silver medalist Christine Mboma to take testosterone-reducing medication and maintain low levels of the hormone for two years before they are cleared to compete.

That could keep some DSD athletes out of events for 24 months, although Coe said some could apply for a shorter, six-month monitoring period.

"So none of these athletes will be eligible to compete in the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August. They will be eligible to compete in other events after that six month period, including the Paris Olympic Games next year if and only if they maintain their testosterone at the required level."

The move banning trans women comes as some claim athletes born male have innate physical advantages over those born female.

"The majority of those consulted stated that transgender athletes should not be competing in the female category.”

The tighter measures around one of the most contentious and divisive issues in sport follow a similar move by World Aquatics in 2022.

Coe announced the formation of a working group, which will be chaired by a transgender athlete, to further study the issue of trans inclusion.