New rules on hormones might make it even harder for trans athletes to compete in the Olympics

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand fails to lift leading to an injury in the Women's 90kg Final during Weightlifting on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

New rules regarding the testosterone levels of transgender women competing in the Olympics are set to be announced amid an ongoing debate about trans athletes.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the main body responsible for overseeing the Olympic games, is expected to announce new rules that would halve half the amount of testosterone permitted in female athletes.

The level of testosterone allowed will go down from 10 to five nanomoles per litre of blood in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Toyko.

These rules are set to apply to 55 different Olympic sports including archery and wrestling, and may further impact transgender athletes’ ability to compete at the highest levels.

Archery is one of the 55 sports expected to be regulated under the new rules. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is also expected to announce new restrictions on the testosterone levels of female athletes in running events, according to The Sunday Times.

Related: Transgender footballer given permission to play in women’s league

The testosterone restriction is expected to be applied to international women’s races at 400m, 800m and 1500m distances.

Openly transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004, with the requirements that they had undergone gender confirmation surgery and had been on hormone therapy for two years.

These rules were relaxed in 2015, removing the requirement of gender confirmation surgery and lowering the required time on hormone therapy from two years to one.


Openly trans athletes in professional sport have caused a considerable debate regarding any potential advantage trans athletes may have over their cisgender competitors.

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