The adoption of stricter International Olympic Committee guidelines for trans-identified athletes has been delayed and will likely not be enacted before the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo since scientists have not been able to come to an agreement on the polarizing issue.
The Guardian reports that a panel of scientists was expected to recommend new guidelines that could have cut in half the permitted level of testosterone in order for biological male athletes who identify as transgender to compete in women’s Olympic events.
However, sources told the U.K.-based news outlet that the IOC’s draft guidelines have been stalled because of the politically sensitive nature of the debate and failure to reach a consensus.
A source explained that a draft proposal had “gone around the houses” but stressed that it is unlikely that a consensus could be reached before the Tokyo games.
IOC’s current guidelines were issued in 2015 and allow trans-identified athletes to compete in women’s sports without having to go through testicle removal surgery. They are allowed to compete so long as their testosterone is kept below a certain level.
The current IOC guidelines state that trans-identified biologically male athletes must keep their testosterone level in serum below 10 nanomoles per liter for 12 months.
But according to The Guardian, some experts on the IOC panel believe that reducing the permitted testosterone level to five nanomoles per liter would produce a better compromise when it comes to tackling issues of competitive fairness and inclusion.
Other scientists on the panel reportedly disagreed with such a proposal.
According to the sources, scientists who opposed the proposal cited recent findings from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that suggests testosterone reduction in trans-identified athletes plays little role in reducing overall muscle strength.
The study’s findings show that the physical advantages of being a biological male still persist, despite going through the process of a “transition,” The Guardian adds.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith