Britain’s Sports Councils Equality Group released a study on the participation of biological men who identified as women in sports with biological women and concluded that beyond the fact that these athletes, through their treatments, reduce testosterone levels, they still have a huge advantage over women, Daily Mail reported.
The research by the Sports Councils Equality Group, which includes UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport Scotland, and Sport Northern Ireland, is based on interviews with 300 individuals and 175 organizations and took 18 months to compile.
Among its most important findings, the group discovered that although men can reduce their testosterone levels through hormone treatments, having developed as men, their muscle mass, bone density, lung size, and limb length have an advantage that does not disappear with testosterone reduction.
Therefore, the council recommends that to maintain fair competition, an ‘open’ or ‘universal’ category be made available for trans athletes to compete with other athletes in similar conditions.
The advantages are most prominent in contact sports, speed sports, or those requiring force.
According to International Olympic Committee guidelines, transgender athletes can compete in elite sports as women, provided their testosterone levels are below ten nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition.
On this basis, during the Tokyo Olympics this year, Laurel Hubbard, a biological male from New Zealand, competed in the weightlifting category in the women’s division, which triggered controversy as Hubbard ‘changed sex’ past the age of 30 and previously competed as a man in the same sport.
The councils’ study has no regulatory validity, and its recommendations only apply nationally.
However, the publication has had some impact as the IOC recently announced that its guidelines on transgender athletes no longer serve their purpose and that a new review is needed.
The study claims that adult male athletes have an average 10 to 12 percent advantage over female competitors in swimming and running events, increasing to 20 percent in diving events, and a 35 percent greater performance in strength sports, such as weightlifting, for athletes of similar size.
To illustrate this point, the researchers used the example of soccer matches between the national teams of Australia, the United States, and Brazil against club teams of boys aged 14 to 15.
The Australian women’s soccer team lost 7-0 to the Newcastle Jets U16s, the U.S. team lost to FC Dallas U15s 5-2, and the Brazilian team lost 6-0 to Gremio U16s.
Researchers urge to find a solution in the middle, without discriminating against trans athletes, create new categories or simply that in contact sports where the physical advantage is undeniable, develop rules that allow a fairer game.
In September, the controversy over transgender athletes also made headlines when a former U.S. Army Special Forces Marine, who is highly trained, fought in mixed martial arts against a woman.
Although the French fighter dominated the first round, with hard punches to Alana Mclaughlin’s face, the former military man won the fight with a chokehold.