2024 Paris Olympics: Understanding IOC framework on transgender athlete participation


The participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports has been a hotly debated matter that gained vital consideration within the media in 2021 following the emergence of former College of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender lady.

The dialogue has since prompted a number of sports activities governing our bodies to re-examine their present insurance policies and, in some notable instances, make sweeping modifications.

The Olympic brand is mirrored within the home windows of the headquarters of the Worldwide Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 18, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

Adjustments had been initiated when, in November 2021, the International Olympic Committee launched a revised coverage advice during which particular person sports activities our bodies had been requested to use sure parameters with a specific deal with “foster[ing] gender equality and inclusion” when establishing their very own insurance policies.


Because the 2024 Summer time Video games in Paris shortly method, right here’s a take a look at the IOC’s newest coverage and the modifications that adopted. 

The Framework

The IOC launched the “Framework on Equity, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Foundation of Gender Identification and Intercourse Variations,” generally referred to by the IOC because the “Framework,” in November 2021 following a “two-year session course of” that included perception from greater than 250 athletes, human rights, authorized and medical consultants.

The Framework, consisting of a 10-principle method, sought to put out suggestions for every sport to think about when creating their very own coverage for eligibility necessities, as a substitute of making a blanket coverage.

“In issuing this Framework, the IOC acknowledges that it should be within the remit of every sport and its governing physique to find out how an athlete could also be at a disproportionate benefit in opposition to their friends, taking into account the character of every sport,” the doc reads. 

“The IOC is subsequently not ready to difficulty rules that outline eligibility standards for each sport, self-discipline, or occasion throughout the very totally different nationwide jurisdictions and sports activities programs.”

International Olympic Committee HQ

The Worldwide Olympic Committee launched a revised coverage advice in November 2021, asking particular person sports activities our bodies to use sure parameters with a specific deal with “foster[ing] gender equality and inclusion” when establishing their very own insurance policies. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP by way of Getty Photographs/File)

As an alternative, the IOC’s new Framework supplied “a principled method to develop their standards which might be relevant to their sport,” asking that every particular person sports activities governing physique take a “complete method grounded on respect for internationally acknowledged human rights, sturdy proof and athlete session,” based on a press launch issued on the time.


“This Framework acknowledges each the necessity to make sure that everybody, no matter their gender identification or intercourse variations, can apply sport in a protected, harassment-free atmosphere that acknowledges and respects their wants and identities, and the curiosity of everybody – significantly athletes at elite degree – to take part in truthful competitions the place no participant has an unfair and disproportionate benefit over the remainder,” the doc continues.  

The ten ideas, which the IOC beneficial be thought-about as an entire and never selectively, embody inclusion, prevention of hurt, non-discrimination, equity, no presumption of benefit, evidence-based method, primacy of well being and bodily autonomy, stakeholder-centered method, proper to privateness, and periodic opinions.

It changed a 2015 coverage that required athletes transitioning from male to feminine to declare their gender identification as feminine, which couldn’t be modified for no less than 4 years, and present testosterone ranges under 10 nmol/L for “at the very least 12 months previous to her first competitors.”

The earlier coverage changed the IOC’s first coverage on transgender athlete participation established forward of the 2004 Video games in Athens, which required athletes to bear surgical procedure to be able to compete in occasions in-line with their gender identification.


Wave of change

A number of sports activities governing our bodies did make modifications following the discharge of the IOC framework. 

In June 2022, World Aquatics successfully banned transgender athletes from competing in ladies’s occasions after establishing their standards to solely embody those that have “not skilled any a part of male puberty past Tanner Stage 2 or earlier than age 12, whichever is later.” The group additionally introduced plans to determine an “open class” instead.

Swimmer competes

A swimmer competes within the ladies’s 4×100-meter medley through the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 18, 2024. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Photographs)

The next yr, the governing physique for biking (UCI) adopted swimsuit, updating its coverage to bar any transgender athletes from competing in ladies’s occasions in the event that they “transitioned after (male) puberty.”

The choice adopted a July 5 assembly the place the governing physique discovered that the present “state of scientific data” couldn’t assure that any bodily benefit could be eradicated after present process hormone remedy remedies.

Earlier that yr, World Athletics, which governs observe and area, adopted the identical coverage as World Aquatics.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe not too long ago addressed the group’s coverage, telling CNN in an interview final month that it stays the “proper choice.” 

“These rules are right here to remain, and if we’ve got to defend them, we are going to, and we’ll defend them on the idea that it’s completely important that we defend, we defend, we protect the feminine class,” he mentioned.

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