In preparation for Rio, the International Olympics Committee relaxed its guidelines for transgender athletes, lifting the requirement that an athlete undergo a sex operation. No, the athlete just needs to show her testosterone is below a specific level. And for the first time, Great Britain will have two male-to-female transgender athletes competing in the games. But, these women are still a mystery – their identities are not public. And it was just reported that they would “drop back” if they’re ahead of the pack for fear of drawing attention to their natural-born gender. Joining host Tamara Holder on Fox News “Sports Court” is Joe Pascal, President of the Hudson Union Society. [Direct link here.]
Under previous IOC guidelines, approved in 2003, transgender athletes — both male to female and female to male — could compete so long as they met the following requirements:
- underwent gender reassignment surgery, and
- underwent a minimum of 2 years hormone therapy, and
- legally changed their gender.
On one hand, this is a human rights victory.
But on the other hand, the Olympics aren’t about bathrooms or wearing a bikini vs boxers. This is about athleticism, from genetics to training. Some say Transgender athletes still have the male anatomy — private parts irrelevant — like more muscle mass and bone density and larger lungs and thus still have an unfair advantage over female-born athletes.
For example, according to the American Journal for Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, “The volume of adult female lungs is typically 10-12% smaller than that of males who have the same height and age” but “because of a greater inclination of ribs, female rib cages could accommodate a greater volume expansion.”
Great Britain will most likely have 2 male to female transgender athletes compete at Rio but they recently stated they will “drop back” in the race if they are winning, simply to avoid the risk of controversy over a win. Their identities are unknown to the public but known to the committee. Based on the “drop back” statement, these women are most likely on the track and field team.
Why race if you’re not going for the gold?