By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
USA Swimming has just announced new rules on the eligibility of transgender athletes in their sport.
A three-member medical panel will now determine whether prior physical development of the athlete concerned as a male will afford transgender swimmers an unfair advantage.
Also, there will be testosterone tests for 3 years before competitions.
The new rules take effect immediately.
These changes have been prompted by a transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas, who has been shattering female swimming records.
USA Swimming stated that it:
“has and will continue to champion gender equality and inclusivity of all cisgender and transgender women and their rights to participate in sport, while also fervently supporting competitive equity at elite levels of competition.”
“The new policy relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level playing field for elite cisgender women.”
The balancing of inclusivity and fairness is the crux of the matter and, of course, this is a difficult circle to square in practice!