By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Under new rules introduced by British Rowing, transgender athletes may participate in women’s events provided that they can prove that their testosterone has been suppressed below five nanomoles per litre over a twelve-month period.
The average testosterone for women is between 0.5 and 2.4 nanomoles per litre.
These rules are in line with World Rowing.
However, the rules have been criticised by former US Olympic rower, Mary O’Connor, who is a medical doctor.
She has accused British Rowing of a “failure of leadership” and a “lack of integrity.”
And has added:
“We do not create categories in sport based on personal identities…. [or] …. on race or ethnicity or religion. We create them based on biological facts. That’s why we have age and weight categories in rowing.
You can’t allow biological males to compete against biological females and say that competition is fair.”
The question has been asked how governing bodies have become so seduced by the idea of trans inclusion at all costs and at the risk of sacrificing a level playing field for women athletes.
Unfortunately, to date at least, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has offered little guidance on this important subject. In fact, the IOC Medical Director, Dr Richard Budgett, has claimed that
“Everyone agrees trans women are women.”
However, many athletes and medical doctors do not agree with him.
Mary O’Connor, for one, is quite clear on the subject:
“The critical distinction here is that trans women are not females.”
Thus, striking a proper balance between inclusion and fair competition continues to be a thorny issue!