Sporting associations have tightened rules regarding transgender athletes competing in women’s sports in 2023, drawing complaints from LGBT activists.
The issue of men competing in women’s sports has received considerable scrutiny amid instances such as Laurel Hubbard, a biological male, competing against women in the weightlifting events during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, as well as University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas’s participation in the 2022 NCAA championships, where the biological male won the 500-yard women’s final and placed highly in other events. The international governing bodies for cricket, fishing and track and field barred biological males from competing in women’s events in 2023, following a similar decision by the international governing body for competitive swimming in 2022.
The International Cricket Council issued the ban on transgender athletes Nov. 22, citing “the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players” following months of consultations. World Athletics banned transgender competitors from women’s sports March 23.
“The Council decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion,” the governing body said in a release.
The International Angling Sport Federation also banned transgender athletes from competing in the women’s division, but only after the British national fishing team threatened to boycott the world championships over the participation of a biological male.
Other governing bodies have taken different courses of action, with the International Cycling Union announcing a review of its policies in May after a biological male won a race in the women’s division in New Mexico. The British governing body issued a ban on May 26.
Biological females, including former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, have raised privacy concerns in locker rooms in addition to questioning the fairness and safety of athletic competition against transgender athletes.In Vermont, a private school was banned from competing after it chose to forfeit a girls’ basketball game against a team with a transgender athlete, prompting a lawsuit.
North Carolina high school volleyball player Payton McNabb, who suffered a concussion when a transgender player’s spike hit her in the face during a September 2022 volleyball match, described ongoing medical symptoms in legislative testimony. Female athletes in field hockey and soccer also suffered serious injuries when competing against transgender athletes.
The Biden administration proposed new regulations involving Title IX April 6 that would force schools to permit biological males to compete in women’s sports. Two dozen governors called on the Biden administration to withdraw the proposed regulations in a May 12 letter to the Department of Education.
At least 40 professional athletes, including US Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe, signed a letter outlining their opposition to federal legislation to prevent biological males from competing in women’s sports.
“If this bill passes, transgender and intersex girls and women throughout the country will be forced to sit on the sidelines, away from their peers and their communities,” the letter said.
Harold Hutchisonon January 1, 2024