Trans activists succesfully lobby for pause on testosterone monitoring for athletes in rock climbing

The recent adjustments in competitive climbing regulations have sparked a significant discourse around the inclusion of transgender athletes in the sport of climbing.

In October, USA Climbing introduced a new policy concerning transgender participation in competitive climbing. However, the stringent guidelines primarily focused on hormone levels and eligibility, potentially excluding many trans athletes from competing against women.

The policy required trans climbers using hormone therapy to navigate a complex application process, akin to doping regulations, imposing significant hurdles for participation. Additionally, stringent testosterone level requirements for trans femme athletes further compounded the issue, potentially limiting their ability to compete.

Trans Climbers Belong (TCB), a grassroots initiative, emerged as a vocal proponent for trans inclusion in climbing. TCB exerted pressure on governing bodies to reconsider their stance.

In November, USA Climbing announced a temporary pause on the implementation of the policy, acknowledging the need for further scientific review.

And there’s already a prominent trans competitor in the sport too.

Cat Runner made headlines in February 2023 by emerging victorious in HBO’s gripping reality program ‘The Climb.’ This competition is renowned for its demanding challenges, and culminated in Runner being crowned the best amateur climber.

Produced by rock climber Chris Sharma and actor Jason Momoa, the reality program followed ten amateur climbers as they competed for a $100,000 grand prize.

Runner expressed his sentiments with USA TODAY by saying: “It was a completely co-ed competition, which was really, really cool. I think I was nervous coming into it that it wasn’t going to be diverse. I check a lot of boxes on the diversity scale. I’m a person of color, I’m a trans person, I’m a queer person, I’m short…So I was nervous that I was going to come in and be tokenized in that sense. But overall, the casting was great and the competition pool was amazing…And I think it was really important to show that, especially in climbing, we’re all talented in our own ways…”

While climbing requires strength at least it’s not actively compromising the safety of female comeptitors. As is, this cannot end well.