Trans Olympic athletes no longer need surgery, hormones still required


  • Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, will be the first person transgender to compete in the Olympics.
  • In 2016, the Olympics ruled out requirements that require trans athletes to have background surgery to compete.
  • Trans defenders are pushing against hormonal restrictions that prevent many trans athletes from competing.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, will be the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics this summer.

Requirements passed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have made it difficult for transgender athletes to compete, requiring that transitional care a person must undergo before participating in the games.

In 2003, the CIO passed regulations demanding trans athletes who want to compete to have it background surgery to play in addition to being on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The committee in part changed its rules in 2015 after pushback by trans activists, who emphasized that surgery is not mandatory for the transition and can be extremely expensive or inaccessible to many people.

However, the hormonal requirement remains, and defenders challenge it as well more scientists are pushing back against the idea that the sex assigned to someone it has something to do with strength and physical endurance.

To compete, transgender women must have a certain range of testosterone

Below are new guidelines, Transmale athletes can compete “without restriction”.

Trans women and transfeminine women who want to compete must be HRT feminization for at least two years, and must have a testosterone level that falls below 10nmol / L.

Similar prohibited testosterone requirements South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya from competition in international competitions by the Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of its natural testosterone levels.


Semenya, who is intersex and naturally produces a higher level of testosterone, has brought her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to order her to be able to handle the 800-meter event at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Insider first reported that Hubbard’s testosterone levels are lower than the 10nmol / L requirements, making her eligible.

Defenders are calling for lifting restrictions on Olympic hormones

In 2021, U.S. state legislators have tried pass more than 100 anti-trans bills, Many of whom lead young transgender athletes looking to do school sports.

The focus on what experts dubbed the country’s last “cultural war” has highlighted the global conversation about whether the hormonal requirements for trans athletes are ethical or human.

Proponents say it’s a matter of recognizing the humanity of trans athletes, while scientists are wondering to what extent testosterone levels really matter in sports.

“We need to let people be who they are and affirm who they are,” Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar he told CBS Los Angeles.

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