Headline RoundupMarch 24th, 2023

World Athletics Council Bars Trans Female Athletes From Women’s Competitions

AllSides Summary

The World Athletics Council voted to exclude transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from women’s international track and field competitions.

Key Quotes: In a statement, World Athletics said the decision followed a two-month “consultation period with various stakeholders” including “representative transgender and human rights groups.” The organization added that "there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally," and consequently no athletics-specific evidence of how these athletes would impact "the fairness of female competition in athletics." It also updated its rules to require athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), to "reduce their testosterone levels below a limit of 2.5 nmol/L" for at least 24 months to compete in the female category.

For Context: World Athletics issued similar rules for women’s swimming in 2022. The issue has become hotly contested in the U.S., as some Republicans promote legislation to exclude trans women from women’s sports. Many sports medicine experts agree that trans women have athletic advantages over cisgender women, though many also oppose blanket bans on trans athletes.

How the Media Covered It: Coverage often reflected polarized narratives on trans women’s participation in women’s sports. An AP (Lean Left bias) article said the decision was “expected to stoke outrage.” A Fox News (Right bias) headline said trans athletes were “put on notice on the world stage.” Coverage in The Daily Wire (Right bias), home to some pundits who support banning gender transition care entirelyfeatured an unflattering photo of a trans weightlifter.

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