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Transgender Athletes in Women's Sports

Transgender athletes in sports?

Are the changes that are being pressured within sports to accommodate transgender athletes fair or are they taking a step in the wrong direction?

The changes that modern movements have made within society not only have changed the outlook people have on one another but also rules and regulations within sports. These changes have been made to enhance the inclusivity of sports across the globe, but are recent results showcasing that the change in policies were a step In the wrong direction and if so, how do we accommodate for these transgender athletes within sport?

The scandal of Lia Thomas

Recent results within sports have shown how there is a high likelihood of these athletes having an advantage whilst within a female competition. For example, through a lot of victory’s Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who previously swam for Penn’s men’s team, has created a lot of attention to the indecisive debate on transgender participation within sports and forming a balance between inclusion and fair play Lia Thomas: How an Ivy League swimmer became the face of the debate on trans women in sports | CNN .Lia Thomas took a huge lead within these races, creating scepticism across the governing body and the general population in whether she, as a transgender athlete, had an advantage over the other female athletes.

British athletics bans transgender athletes from competing in female categories

Furthermore, the effect of this has been seen and shown within various other sports, a recent decision was taken by the British athletics governing body to ban transgender athletes participating within female competitions. This was met with transgender athletes condemning the decision taken saying it is excluding them from the sport whilst the decision brought relief to the female athletes who say that it brings back fairness as the female category needs to be protected Transgender athletes condemn ban on inclusion in female events | Reuters.

Do transgender athletes have an advantage over female athletes?

In a study taken in the lead up to the Olympics which was published in 2020 showed that transgender athletes who had gone through hormone therapy for one year continued to outperform non-transgender athletes. The gap largely closed after two years; however, transgender athletes still ran 12% faster! The main advantages these athletes hold is their strength that is carried across through their transition. Although there is suppressants to try to remove the competitive advantage, they don’t remove the advantage to a good enough extent which is causing unfairness Do trans athletes have an unfair advantage? – DW – 07/24/2021 .

Do female athletes feel like their category within sport is being taken advantage of?

Female athletes are at a fear of their hard work trying to hit records, take podiums and those that have transitioned having a competitive advantage. Many athletes spend their lives working towards a single goal of making teams or making the podium, their hard work is across many years and countless hours towards one goal. Is this time being wasted if transgender athletes are being allowed to come and smash the records to a point that other female athletes cant compete against them?

So, what are the next steps for sporting governing bodies?

The main thing for sports governing bodies to work out at this stage is how to continue being inclusive but fair across the various categories. To do this it may be a case of enhancing research into further transitioning drugs that reduce the competitive advantage that the transgender athletes have against the other athletes. The idea of potentially another category could be implemented to continue to create a fairness but also to have the inclusivity within the sport. However, would this lead to people wanting more categories opened for other identifying athletes? At what point do the categories stop? Is it wise to allow transgender athletes to continue to compete on the elite stage?


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