UK Athletics bans trans women from female events

UK Athletics has banned transgender women from competing in the female category in its competitions and events in the United Kingdom.

It comes after World Athletics announced a ban at international level.

UKA said competitions it licenses would be run under the new World Athletics regulations when they come into effect from midnight on 31 March.

It added it “appreciates the efforts” of World Athletics to “protect the female category”.

The governing body – which contributed to the formation of World Athletics’ policy – said it had received the “required assurances” that the sporting exemption in the Equality Act 2010 applies to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, after previous concerns.

That exemption states sporting organisations can discriminate on grounds of sex in a “gender-affected activity” and discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment where necessary to secure “fair competition” or “the safety of competitors”.

UKA said its position is that athletics should “remain an inclusive sport” but it is “fair” that athletes who have gone through male puberty should be excluded from the female category.

In developing its transgender eligibility policy, “consideration will be given” to changing the current male category to an open category.

Under previous rules, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of five nanomoles per litre, and stay under this threshold continuously for a period of 12 months before competing in the female category.

As part of its transitional arrangements, UKA said any transgender athlete who had already entered a competition having complied with its 2021 policy, which applied the World Athletics rules at the time, will remain eligible to compete in that specific competition but may not accept any prize or have their results counted.

UKA will also apply World Athletics’ regulations for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD).

DSD is a group of rare conditions whereby a person’s hormones, genes and/or reproductive organs may be a mix of male and female characteristics. Some of those affected prefer the term “intersex”.

DSD athletes will be required to reduce their blood testosterone level to below 2.5nmol/l, down from five, and must remain under this threshold for two years in order to compete internationally in the female category in any track and field event.

However, UKA said it “remained concerned about the ethics of coercing individuals to undergo pharmacological intervention purely for sporting purposes”.

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