Olympics to allow more transgender athletes to compete, after 'removing surgery requirement'

Currently, trans athletes must undergo gender reassignment surgery, provide legal documentation confirming the gender they were assigned at birth and undergo two years of hormone treatment

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The Independent Online

The Olympics are reportedly changing their policies to enable more transgender athletes to compete, it has been reported.

According to ESPN, the International Olympic Committee has indicated that it will adopt new guidelines to allow trans athletes who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery to take part in the Games. 

Currently, trans athletes must have undergone gender reassignment surgery, provide legal recognition of the gender which they were assigned at birth and must have undergone a minimum of two years hormone replacement surgery.

Trans rights campaigners have criticised the measures for being overly restrictive and placing too much of a focus on physical presentation of gender, rather than self-identification. 

Many have also argued that the surgery requirements amount to a severe financial barrier due to the cost of such procedures. Furthermore, long hospital waiting lists for gender reassignment surgery can represent a significant time delay in an athlete’s career.

Under new reported guidelines, the Olympics will remove the surgery requirement and instead implement a new standard of one year of hormone replacement therapy.

The new guidelines state: “To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.”

This requirement would bring the Games in line with other major sporting organisations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA.

The guidelines did not indicate the Olympics Committee’s stance on non-binary transgender athletes’ participation.