USA Boxing is the highest national governing body for the sport. It has recently introduced a groundbreaking policy within its 2024 rulebook.
The newly added transgender athletes policy is turning heads for its stringent requirements, making it one of the strictest frameworks for trans athletes in the sporting world. Dated August 2022, these guidelines have garnered attention for their controversial stance on trans women in particular.
This goes against a recent trend of rulings by sports regulatory bodies that have completely barred trans women from participation in sports if they have experienced male puberty.
According to the policy, minors under the age of 18 are mandated to compete based on their birth gender within specified weight classes.
For transgender women over 18, the path to competition in the female category demands genital reassignment surgery and a commitment to quarterly hormone tests for a minimum of four years post-surgery.
The guidelines set specific parameters for testosterone levels, requiring transgender women to maintain a serum level below 5 nanomoles per liter for at least four years before their first competition and throughout their eligibility period.
For transgender men over 18, the policy necessitates genital reassignment surgery, quarterly hormone tests for four years post-surgery, and a consistent testosterone level above 10 nanomoles per litre for at least four years before their first competition and throughout their eligibility.
Despite the significance of these guidelines, it remains unclear when they officially took effect. USA Boxing has yet to provide a comment in response to inquiries.
These guidelines signal a distinct departure from the norms established for transgender athletes. Advocacy groups like Athlete Ally argue that imposing surgery and testosterone testing as mandated by USA Boxing, may compromise athletes’ dignity, autonomy, and potentially their health. Furthermore, they contend that limitations based on perceived advantages lack consideration for the nuanced factors influencing competitive advantage.
But since the IOC unveiled its framework, a number of sports governing bodies have unveiled some of the strictest regulations to date. This is partly because of public pressure following the achievements of transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. She broke numerous national records and went on to win an NCAA championship.
In the midst of her season, the NCAA said that it will do away with its prior trans athlete policy. The organisation said that it would adopt a sport-by-sport approach, aligning with the IOC’s framework.