Updated Guidelines For Trans Inclusion in Combat Sports Released By Association of Ringside Physicians

The Association of Ringside Physicians has released a position statement providing updated guidelines on the participation of transgender athletes in combat sports. The statement addresses the complex issue of balancing fairness, inclusion, and athlete safety in these high-risk activities.

The press release was publicized on Twitter by Lawyer Erik Magraken.

According to the ARP, there are biological factors that can provide athletic advantages to individuals assigned male at birth, even after gender-affirming interventions like hormone therapy. These advantages, determined during early development, may persist for years and include differences in muscle mass, bone structure, and other physical characteristics relevant to combat sports.

While acknowledging the potential unfair disadvantages for cisgender female competitors, the ARP also recognizes the increased risk of serious injury when transgender women compete against cisgender men due to anatomical and physiological differences.

The ARP bases its position on three main factors:

Some sex-linked characteristics that impact athletic performance are established prenatally and in infancy, unaltered by later hormonal interventions.
Hormone therapy can narrow but not completely eliminate performance gaps between transgender and cisgender women in many cases.
Combat sports carry an inherently high risk of injury, amplified when competitors have substantial physical disparities.

Current policies across sports organizations vary widely regarding transgender athlete eligibility. The ARP guidelines aim to provide a framework for developing appropriate, sport-specific regulations that balance inclusion with fairness and safety considerations.

The ARP advocates using non-binary gender identification on medical forms, consulting medical experts, and employing data-driven analysis rather than relying solely on testosterone levels. It also highlights the need for continued research and open dialogue to navigate this complex issue compassionately and responsibly.