Last week, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title after taking first place in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event.
According to the rules of world athletics, which govern track and field — and do not apply to swimming — a transgender woman must demonstrate that her testosterone levels have been consistently below 5 nanomols per liter for at least 12 months. To compete, it must maintain these levels “for as long as it wishes to maintain its eligibility to compete in the women’s competition category”.
But some athletes do not strictly comply with these rules. The board considers an athlete to be transgender if their “gender identity … is different from the gender assigned to them at birth”. But the rules do not specify how and when the athlete must prove the gender assigned to him at birth. It is also unclear whether the rules apply to athletes of non-binary gender. The organization has a separate set of rules for athletes with differences in sexual development (who are sometimes known as intersex).
“There is no doubt that testosterone is the main determinant of performance,” Coe said.
“Look at the nature of girls at 12 or 13,” Coe said in his book. “I remember my daughters regularly outperforming their male counterparts in their class, but once that gap starts and stays in puberty and it stays that way. Gender can’t outpace biology.” Interview with the Daily Telegraph.
“You can’t be oblivious to public sentiment,” he said, “of course not.” “But science is important.”
“If I am not satisfied with the science we have and the experts who have been working on this for so long, it would be a very different scene,” Koe said, according to The Telegraph.
CNN has reached out to World Athletics for comment on Coe’s comments but has yet to receive a response.
“We were expecting there to be some degree of pushback by some people,” she said. “And to the extent that there was an explosion, we weren’t fully expecting it.” “I just don’t deal with it. It’s not healthy for me to read and interact with it at all, and so I don’t.”
There are many different hormones that are naturally produced at a range of levels in people of all races and genders. Sensitivity to hormones can also affect the development of anatomy and may cause anatomical differences not associated with typical male or female binary classes. There is controversy in the scientific community as to whether male hormones such as testosterone are useful markers of athletic advantage.
For more than a decade, the NCAA has required transgender women to undergo testosterone suppression therapy for a year before being allowed to compete on a women’s team.
USA Swimming then issued a set of stricter guidelines that require elite trans athletes to have at least three continuous years of testosterone levels below 5 nanomols per liter, and to demonstrate before a panel of medical experts that they do not have a competitive advantage over gender. woman.
The new rule threatened to make Thomas ineligible to compete in the NCAA tournaments. However, the NCAA said these rules will be put into place in a phased approach over the coming seasons rather than in the middle of the current season.
“I would note that I respect Lia Thomas and stand with her completely; I am convinced that she is no different from me or any other D1 swimmer who has woken at 5 am her whole life for morning training. She has sacrificed her family Vacations and Vacations for Competition,” Giorgi wrote.
“She has pushed herself to the limit to become the best athlete she can be. She does what she loves and deserves it right. On the other hand, I would like to criticize the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us,” she added.
After Thomas’ victory last week, several news sites claimed that the three swimmers who were beaten by Thomas staged a protest on the podium.
“However, no one questions the validity of how the unique traits and skills of gender sympathetic athletes, or who they are, contribute to their success. However, Leah Thomas was unfairly targeted for swimming at the University of Pennsylvania — for being her, a transgender woman.”
“Like everyone else in this sport, Leah has trained hard to get to where she is and followed all the rules and guidelines laid out in front of her. Like everyone else in this sport, Leah doesn’t win every time.
“And when she does, she deserves, like everyone else in the sport, to be celebrated for her hard-earned success, not called a cheater just for her identity,” she said.
CNN’s Eric Levinson contributed to this report.