The main international governing body which supervises events such as track and field and cross country running, World Athletics, seems like it may be taking the same route as FINA, the world’s governing body for swimming, in its choice to protect women athletes from being made to compete against those who are biologically male.
This past Sunday, FINA issued a vote for its new policy that would only let a biological man take part in a women’s swimming event if “they can establish to FINA’s comfortable satisfaction that they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 (of puberty) or before age 12, whichever is later.”
“We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport. This is as it should be,” stated Lord Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, seemingly in response to the finalized decision coming down from FINA.
“We have always believed, and repeated constantly, that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this,” he went on, as reported by the BBC. “We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year.”
“We’ve always tried to find a navigable way through,” stated Coe, who happens to be a four-time Olympic medal winner that remains the only man to ever take successive Olympic 1500m titles. “We haven’t wanted to stigmatize.”
“But when push comes to shove, if it’s a judgement between inclusion and fairness, we will always fall down on the side of fairness — that for me is non-negotiable,” he went on.
“The integrity of women’s sport is really, really important here, and we can’t have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport. So we have a responsibility…maintaining the primacy and the integrity of female competition is absolutely vital, and that’s why we were at the forefront of tabling those regulations that allow as close as you can get to a level playing field. Those regulations are always under review… if there are events, distances or disciplines that we think are being unfairly impacted we will of course look at those again in the light of the science.”
“And I’ve always made it clear: if we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgement about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness,” assured Coe, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“You have to and that’s my responsibility. Of course, it’s a societal issue. If one of my colleagues here in my team suddenly becomes transgender, it doesn’t make a difference to me. They will continue to do the same job with skill and aplomb in exactly the way they were before they made that transition. This is not possible in sport. It is fundamental to performance and integrity and that, for me, is the big, big difference.”
Coe made sure to note that various organizations seemed to fear getting slammed with lawsuits if they chose to take a stance against transgender participation in competitive sports.
“We’ve spent $1,000,000 [on legal fees related to DSD],” he unveiled. “We’re not FIFA but we’re not bereft. But there are other sports that are genuinely fearful that, if they go down that road, they’ll bankrupt themselves defending this. So it’s not that easy for us to just sit there and say, ‘Well, some sports are sort of tiptoeing around it.”
“The reality of it is it’s quite an outlay and they’ve also got limited data and research, he highlighted. “The International Olympic Committee created the framework, which said that nobody should be making these decisions unless you’ve got 10 years of longitudinal study. Well we have. I doubt whether, on transgender, anybody in sport has got 10 years of longitudinal study – they just haven’t.”