The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released a ‘groundbreaking’ framework on transgender inclusion.
It comes after Laurel Hubbard made history at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, becoming the first openly transgender competitor in an individual event when she stepped onto the platform for the women’s +87kg weightlifting. She was later named sportswoman of the year in New Zealand.
The new guidelines will replace the previous framework set out in 2015, and plans are in place for them to be rolled out following the Beijing Winter Olympics next year.
The framework on ‘fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations’ comes after a two-year consultation process with more than 250 athletes and concerned stakeholders.
‘Through this Framework, the IOC seeks to promote a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved in elite-level competition, consistent with the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter. The Framework also acknowledges the central role that eligibility criteria play in ensuring fairness, particularly in high-level organised sport in the women’s category,’ a press release reads.
The IOC has also noted how ‘sex testing’ and ‘invasive physical examinations’ in order to determine an athlete’s gender were ‘disrespectful’ and ‘potentially harmful’, Athlete Ally reports.
Magali Martowicz, the IOC’s head of human rights, said, ‘We really want to make sure that athletes are not pressured or coerced into making a harmful decision about their bodies,’ as per The Independent.
Keveh Mehrabi, the IOC’s director of the athletes department, said the framework isn’t legally binding. ‘What we are offering to all the international federations is our expertise and a dialogue, rather than jumping to a conclusion,’ he told the media, saying there’s a ‘process that we have to go through with each federation on a case by case basis and see what is required’.
Quinn, a Canadian footballer who became the world’s first openly transgender Olympic gold medallist earlier this year, described the framework as ‘groundbreaking in the way that it reflects what we know to be true – that athletes like me and my peers participate in sports without any inherent advantage, and that our humanity deserves to be respected.’
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