Olympics: Is the rule change acceptable? (Pro)

Crystal Valdez, Features Editor


Since the beginning of 2016, new policies have been established regarding the participation of transgender athletes in the Olympics.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio will be the first to allow transgender athletes to compete without gender reassignment surgery. It will also be the first to require that transgender athletes follow a new rule.

Female to male transgender competitors are not required to show proof of higher testosterone levels after 12 months or longer, while male to female transgender competitors do have to prove that their testosterone levels are lower after 12 months or longer.

Allowing these athletes to compete in the Olympics without gender reassignment surgery as a requirement is groundbreaking. It allows for participation of more transgender athletes worldwide, which ultimately promotes and leads to more diversity in the Olympics, and it is a step in the right direction.

Now, many would perceive the difference between prerequisite of proof of lower testosterone levels unjust because it relies on the direction in which one is transitioning. People may argue that it creates an unfair competition and creates a double standard. On the contrary, this rule promotes safety and fair game. Why don’t female to male transgender athletes have to prove their testosterone levels have risen, and why do male to female transgender athletes have to prove that their testosterone levels have dropped? I’ll tell you why.

Higher testosterone levels are often equated to more muscle mass, more strength. A male to female transgender athlete who has not shown proof of lower testosterone levels to match the average of that of her genetically female competitors has a potential advantage. As much as I hate to admit it, males who train at an equal rate as females will always be stronger because that’s how we were biologically built. If there were no regulation of the testosterone levels of a male to female transgender competitor, that athlete is likely to win – not because she trained any harder, but because of the higher testosterone levels she was born with.

To say that both genders should have the same rules regarding proof of regulated testosterone levels is asinine and creates the assumption that transgender women will perhaps not participate in hormone treatment after the first 12 months. This will more than likely not be the case.

Athletes participate in the Olympics to win. Assuming no hormone treatment has occurred, a genetically born female who competes with genetically born men, as much as I hate to admit it, will likely lose, not because she isn’t capable, but because of the natural distinction between hormone levels in relation to sex. These athletes know this, and to avoid any disadvantage, it is safe to assume that a female to male Olympic athletes will undergo hormone therapy and raise his testosterone levels in order to have a fighting chance at victory.

An example of the opportunities this new policy has to offer is the possibility that athletes such as Chris Mosier may compete in the Olympics. Mosier has not undergone gender reassignment surgery but fulfills the new testosterone level requirements, despite being no formal investigation after 12 months if he is to compete.Mosier is a transgender male athlete who qualified in 2015 for the U.S. Sprint Duathlon team after competing against genetically born male athletes.

This new policy the International Olympics Committee established opens the door for transgender athletes throughout the world. Male Olympic athletes shouldn’t worry about whether or not female to male transgender athletes have recently undergone hormone therapy. Chances are that they have, so I advise Olympic athletes to focus on themselves and to focus on winning.