IOC opening field of competition to trans athletes with new policy

The Olympics are reportedly opening the field of competition to transgender athletes by adopting an updated policy that reflects standards already adopted by other regulatory sports organizations.

As first reported by Outsports, in November the International Olympic Committee received new proposed guidelines from its "Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism," allowing for broader policies for the inclusion of transgender athletes.

Olympics officials have yet to announce formally that the Games have adopted the new guidelines, which can be found on their website. If formally adopted, the potential rules update would bring the Olympics in line with the standards already employed by the NCAA in the United States by allowing both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender athletes to compete without having had surgery.

The Olympics already had rules formally allowing and acknowledging trans athletes' right to compete but with specific provisions under the Stockholm Consensus adopted in 2004 before the Olympics in Athens: Transgender athletes had to have gender reassignment surgery; they must have legal recognition of the gender they were assigned at birth; and they had to have undergone at least two years of hormone replacement therapy after surgery. The proposed new rules would bring the Olympics in line with the NCAA's standard of one year of hormone replacement therapy -- with no surgical requirement -- before being allowed to compete.

While the proposal might open the door for transgender athletes like Team USA's Chris Mosier to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil in August, it remains to be seen whether Mosier himself will be eligible to compete in the World Championships in Aviles, Spain, in June. Last summer, Mosier qualified for the U.S. Sprint Duathlon Team (running and cycling) competing against men. Mosier has not undergone gender reassignment surgery but has fulfilled established guidelines for hormone replacement.

It remains to be seen whether the International Triathlon Union, which provides oversight on World Championship events like tri- and duathlons, would adopt these policies in time for Mosier to compete. If ITU continues to observe the current policy requiring surgery and prohibits Mosier from competing, he is already reported to be ready to contest that in court.

The new standards would remain consistent with the IOC's commitment to World Anti-Doping Code and WADA's international standards. The new guidelines also contain recommendations that the Olympics act on the results of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand's victory in Court of Arbitration for Sport in July. That decision allowed for female athletes who happen to have naturally elevated levels of testosterone.