Boston Marathon announces trans women can compete

Boston Marathon has announced that trans people will be able to compete in its next run.

The organisers of the event have come forward to say that they will “take people at their word” and allow competitors to define their gender however they see fit.

“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race to ABC News.

“Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”

At least five openly transgender women are signed up to compete in the 26.2 mile feat through the Massachusetts city.

And is it not just Boston that is taking a more inclusive approach when it comes to running.

Organizers of the Chicago, New York City, London and Los Angeles marathons have also said that they will allow competitors to compete regardless of gender identity.

Although for trans competitors who haven’t legally changed their gender, there still might be a final hurdle when it comes to competing.

Runners are required to submit ID at the registration desk prior to competing in a marathon, which could throw up problems for those who have not legally changed their gender.

“To be able to experience it as me was really, really important,” said Stevie Romer, a trans Boston Marathon competitor to ABC News.

“I’ve been a runner since as long as I can remember. I love running, but I just happen to be transgender.”

There are a lot of misconceptions about trans people competing in sport – the most recent case of this saw the Australian Weightlifting Federation attempt to block trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from competing – which can stigmatise trans competitors.

In reality, the likes of testosterone blockers can put trans competitors at a disadvantage in the sport, especially with side effects such as dehydration and dizziness affecting those on testosterone blockers.

Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon.

The event attracts around 500,000 spectators each year, with elite competitors who have reached a certain qualifying time selected to compete.