The Uncertain Olympic Future For Trans And Intersex Athletes

The participation of trans and intersex athletes in elite sporting competitions has been controversial for decades, and the debate is centered around testosterone.

There has never been an out transgender competitor in the Olympic Games. Until 2003, trans people weren’t eligible to compete; that year, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) held a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, to address what was considered a growing controversy at the time. The result of that meeting—called the “Stockholm Consensus on Sex Reassignment in Sports”—provided a framework for allowing trans people to compete in the Olympics for the first time. The rules were restrictive and discriminatory by today’s standards—they included requiring hormone replacement therapy for at least two years before competition, legal recognition of the individual’s new gender, and mandatory genital reconstructive surgery—but overall the change was lauded as a progressive step forward.

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