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25th March 2023 (11 Topics)

World governing body bans transgender women athletes


Transgender women have been barred from competing in the female category by World Athletics (WA).

Background (previous rules)

Testosterone is a male sex hormone (androgen) that helps male features develop. It is made in the testes in males, the ovaries in females, and in the adrenal glands.

  • Under previous rules, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of 5nmol/L, and stay under this threshold continuously for a period of 12 months before competing in the female category.

What does the ban mean?

  • Transgender women who have experienced male puberty will not be able to compete in the female competition after March 31 this year.
  • The decision to exclude transgender women who had gone through male puberty was based "on the overarching need to protect the female category".

Who is a transgender person?

  • As per international standards, ‘transgender’ is an umbrella term that includes persons whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to them at birth.
  • In addition to this sense of mismatch, the definition provided under the new rules also lists further criteria to be defined as a transgender person. 
  • These additional criteria include being
    1. ‘neither wholly male nor female’, or
    2. ‘a combination of male or female’, or
    3. ‘neither male nor female’

Issues faced by Transgender

  • Discrimination
  • Unemployment
  • Lack of educational facilities
  • Homelessness
  • Lack of medical facilities like HIV care and hygiene
  • Depression
  • Hormone pill abuse
  • Tobacco and alcohol abuse
  • Penectomy
  • Problems related to marriage and adoption

Constitutional rights related to Transgender (in India)

  • Preamble to the Constitution mandates Justice - social, economic, and political equality of status.
  • Article 14 provides ‘right to equality’
  • Article 15 speaks about the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 21 ensures right to privacy and personal dignity to all the citizens.
  • Article 23 prohibits trafficking in human beings as beggars and other similar forms of forced labor and any contravention of these provisions shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act (TPPRA), 2019 prohibits discrimination against transgender people when it comes to things like education and employment.
  • National Portal For Transgender Persons(NPTP) was introduced so that people could apply online for a ‘transgender ID’.

Position of other sports on transgender athletes

  • World Rugby has banned transgender players from competing at the elite level of the women’s game, citing safety concerns.
  • Rugby league has banned transgender players from women’s international competition, while the International Cycling Union (UCI) has tightened its eligibility rules.
  • A number of sports announced reviews of their transgender inclusion policies following World Aquatics’ decision to restrict the participation of transgender athletes.

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