Trans Canadian students to be allowed on teams consistent with their gender identity

A doctor explains why banning trans people from sport is unscientific

Trans students in Canada are now allowed to compete on teams that are consistent with their gender identity after a governing organisation changed its rules.

The new rule means that trans students in 56 third-level institutions in Canada will now be able to play as the gender that they identify as without getting hormone therapy.

Athletes in training


The policy is in effect since Thursday and says that students will only be able to participate in sports as one gender for a given academic year, and they must also comply with the anti-doping program.

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Kai Scott, who is a principal partner at TransFocus Consulting, said that it was a really important issue to address.

“These kids of policies are important declarations of support and assurance and inclusivity,” he added.

He also praised the efforts to clarify that students who had not undergone hormone therapy would still be able to play as their preferred gender, saying the absence of those details can make people hesitant to play.

However, Scott was also critical of the organisation’s failure to include terminology and language that suits non-binary student athletes.

He said that the majority of sports are still divided along gender lines, and said that he would prefer to see divisions in other categories, such as muscle mass, hormone level or weight.

The University of British Columbia said they supported the policy, and that they support “inclusive and safe environments.”

(Creative Commons)

The move comes after the International Olympics Committee scrapped a policy in 2016 which meant that trans athletes had to have undergone gender reassignment therapy followed by two years of hormone therapy in order to compete.

They now allow trans men to take part in men’s competitions without restriction, however male to female athletes have to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a designated level for at least a year before competing.

The participation of trans athletes in sports has been a source of controversy in other quarters in the past. In Connecticut in June, parents circulated a petition asking for trans athletes to be excluded after two trans women won sprint events. The parents subsequently argued that they had an unfair advantage.