UK Athletics bans transgender athletes from female divisions

In a surprising move, UK Athletics (UKA) has announced an immediate ban on transgender women from competing in the female category across all its events.

This decision comes after UKA initially expressed its intention to implement such a ban two months ago, citing the need to protect the female category.

However, the organization deemed it too risky to do so without a change in government law. This move was criticized by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for its inaccurate interpretation of the Equality Act.

New Policy Implementation

UKA’s latest announcement comes after receiving the necessary assurances from relevant bodies that the sporting exemption in the Equality Act 2010 applies to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This new policy will apply to all UKA licensed events from midnight on 31 March.

UKA believes that it is fair for athletes who have gone through male puberty to be excluded from the female category in athletics.

However, it emphasized that athletics should remain an inclusive sport. The clarification involved a confirmation that section 195 of the 2010 Equality Act allows sports to restrict competition in the female category on safety and fairness grounds.

Transgender Athletes’ Eligibility

UKA added that any transgender athlete who has already entered a competition or event in a category that is not their biological sex would remain eligible to compete in that event. However, they may not accept any prize, and their results will not count towards any record, qualifying time or mark, or team scoring.

World Athletics Regulations

World Athletics previously required transgender women to reduce their blood testosterone to a maximum of five nanomoles per litre and stay below this threshold continuously for 12 months before competing in the female category. However, the governing body recently changed its policy due to the need to protect women’s sports.

UKA will also apply World Athletics’ regulations for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD), requiring them to lower their blood testosterone level from 5nmol/l to below 2.5nmol/l.

Concerns Over Coercion

Despite implementing these new regulations, UKA remains concerned about the ethics of coercing individuals to undergo pharmacological intervention purely for sporting purposes. It is a complex issue that has elicited a wide range of opinions and discussions.

UK Athletics has made a U-turn in its stance regarding transgender women competing in the female category. With this new policy, UKA aims to strike a balance between inclusion and fairness while prioritizing the safety of athletes in its licensed events.