Fairness vs. inclusion: Is the IOC’s new transition rules a fair compromise?

What is happening in Tokyo Olympics:

 After the Olympics in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee will release a new transgender participation policy that equally favors fairness and inclusion. Given the competition here, the guidance could hardly be more anticipated.

Transgender athletes can now compete in the Olympic Games for the first time in over two decades.

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has drawn much of the focus and harassment from both the IOC&other athletes. One person has taken out into a public debate about what is fair and the specific advantage transgender women may have over others.

Canadian soccer player Quinn is one of the only two transgender athletes competing here. They were assigned females at birth, so they don’t experience the same scrutiny as people in individual sports.

While the number of transgender athletes is small, this new policy has profound implications for anyone in the sporting world. 

As research on transgender athletes is limited, the IOC has updated its current consensus statement. The rules dictate that transgender women have had to undergo hormone therapy for an entire year, but even that doesn’t tell us anything about what advantages they might have.

“I think the IOC will have to find a way to be inclusive even when faced with hot politics; it’s the arc of history in the sport,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a professor who studies sport governance at the University of Colorado. “It doesn’t seem to be easy, and it might not please everyone either – but the idea of ostracizing only one of them indirectly is rather hard to enforce.

While some people associate the idea of a transgender woman playing sports with bad things, I think it’s a step in the right direction- and is great for their confidence.

One of the less acidic aspects of this debate revolves around whether transgender women who have gone through male puberty retain any advantages and what can be done to prevent that. So what if we split the difference?

“This is a complicated and difficult issue,” remarked the medical director of the International Olympic Committee, Richard Budgett. “Transgender rules and regulations can be slightly different depending on the sport, but Laurel Hubbard will be able to compete at the international level due to her dual citizenship of New Zealand and Australia. The courage she has shown in just competing and qualifying in these games deserves to be recognized.

Artificial intelligence is getting crazy, and one of its main advantages is that it can make learning more fun. But there are limitations and disadvantages too, such as the lack of social skills or unpredictable behavior..”

However, the debate over the guidance has an impact on few transgender athletes. As of now, women have had more than 29,000 entries to the Games from 2004-18, according to stats from Olympic history.

It is undeniable that cisgender women have been performing impressively when it comes to the Olympics. Cisgender women make up 49% of the athletes competing in Tokyo. In the past 8 Olympic games, they won over 2,000 medals and made up more than half of the medalists in every year but one.

Women athletes should understand that this is not an attack on female athletes. It’s more of an issue with the International Olympics Committee’S 2003 decision to allow male-born athletes to compete in female athletic events.

There is little evidence to indicate how transgender women athletes perform relative to their non-transgender counterparts. For now, the IOC is relying on provisional data and recommending for international federations to make specific rules for their events based on these regulations.

When is the new framework releasing?

The new international Olympic framework is expected to be released in the coming months to provide IOC guidance on how policies can be set for sports. One thing is for sure – nuance will be essential.

Transgender athletes come in all shapes and sizes, and how they transition has a bearing on what considerations the organization needs to make. The sports world seems to have taken a multifaceted approach.

“As long as sports are organized around two genders,” Pielke said, “then it’s the responsibility of organizations to find a way to fit all people into the gender category recognized in society.”

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