Will Australia Allow Biological Males to Play Women’s Sports?

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The Australian sports body has proposed that transgender people be allowed to compete in women’s high-level sports, but only if they undergo hormone suppression.

The Australian Sports Commission, in a recent document on “gender inclusion,” endorsed the idea of testosterone limits for transwomen who participate in elite sports. This recommendation is likely to cause fury throughout the sporting community.

Transgender athletes are advised to keep their testosterone levels in the blood below 2.5 nanomoles/liter during a two-year period prior to competition by voluntary guidelines intended for national sports organizations. This requirement may change depending on the needs of each sport.

The framework stated that “Sports which are not explosive, power-based or aerobic, may consider the appropriate range to be above the AIS recommended guidelines.” Athletes who are undergoing testosterone reduction must be under medical supervision and consult an endocrinology expert.

Equality Australia applauded the recommendation but said that the AIS had to “justify” the reasoning behind the AIS’s decision to impose adjusted testosterone levels.

Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia, said that while it was up to the AIS whether they justified their testosterone requirements for elite athletes, it’s reasonable to expect certain criteria. This is why Equality Australia supports the guidelines that recommend a case-by-case approach, rather than a blanket prohibition.

Hannah Mouncey, a transgender player of handball, called the decision “awesome,” adding that it made “it pretty f***ing obvious” that “if you want someone banned, you have to be very clear about why.”

I don’t believe they could have done it better. Mouncey said, “They’re amazing.” They’ve done it without paying attention to the hysteria.

The Queer Sporting Alliance was less pleased, arguing it would continue to exclude transgender women from female sports.

The organization stated that it was “hard to accept today” the silence of the AIS regarding the guidelines which endorse the setting of arbitrarily lower testosterone levels for athletes who identify as transgender.

The guidelines are used to exclude transgender women whose testosterone levels may be lower than their cis-gendered counterparts.

There should be guidelines to help peak bodies to take an informed approach to inclusion. These guidelines are not good enough… the bar has been set so low that our LGBTIQ+ community will tell you that today is a day to celebrate. It’s not.

The issue of biological men participating in female sports is perhaps the most controversial topic in modern sports. Transgender women are banned from top women’s sports by several international sporting federations. These include athletics, rugby league, and rugby union. The federations cite reasons such as maintaining fair competition and athlete safety. Other sports have instituted testosterone limits similar to the guidelines established by Australia.

Many scientists dispute the effectiveness of these limits on testosterone in promoting fairness. They argue that transgender female athletes who experienced male puberty possess significant physical benefits even after hormone suppression.

Gallup released a poll this week that found a majority of Americans opposed transgender women participating in sports. Around 70% of Americans supported the idea that transgender athletes be allowed to compete in sports categories matching their biological sex.