comScore Olympics Remove Trans Athlete Surgery Requirement | The Mary Sue

International Olympic Committee Removes Sex Reassignment Surgery Requirement for Trans Athletes

Olympic Rings

The International Olympic Committee has finally entered the 21st century. They’ve updated their guidelines to state that transgender athletes are now allowed to compete in the Olympics regardless of their status with regards to sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). The guidelines used to state that an athlete must have had SRS in order to compete at all–because what’s in your pants or your shirt totally dictates how well you’ll do in track and field, I suppose?

Trans athletes have long had old, bunk science used against them when it comes to deciding whether they should be allowed to compete or not. That being said, there are a few interesting caveats with the language used in the guidelines. For instance, when it comes to trans female athletes, they’re required to prove via bloodwork that their hormone levels are in line with that of someone assigned female at birth, and they’re not allowed to change their status for up to four years after declaring it.

The guideline specifically states:

[A trans female athlete] must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition… [they must] remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.

But when it comes to trans male athletes, they’re allowed to compete in male events without any stipulations or tests.

It’s strange to think that there are a battery of tests required for one set of athletes versus another. It’s a strange dissonance to require that trans female athletes “prove” their gender identity with blood work and time whereas trans male athletes don’t.

You can read the consensus (based on a meeting from November 2015) here.

(via BuzzFeed)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.