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A guide to the regulation of transgender athlete participation in sport

Runners on starting blocks
Thursday, 03 December 2020 By Olivia Amos
  1. As our understanding of the human body and mind advances, society has begun to question and debate more the distinction between sex and gender and the traditional binary classification of each: i.e. male or female (sex) and man or woman (gender). As an important and very visible part of society, sport has been fertile ground for this debate.
  1. This article will highlight the different approaches taken by international and national sports governing bodies (together SGBs) with respect to trans athletes and consider some of the issues which will inform the process of producing or reviewing such a policy.
  1. This article is not intended to be, and does not attempt to, analyse the evidential basis of any such policies, or any position taken regarding trans participation in sport more generally.

  2. The subsections of this article are as follows:
    1. Framing the conversation – why are sports regulating trans athletes?
    2. An introduction to trans athlete policies in sport ­– how are SGBs approaching the issue and what is the relationship with human rights law?
    3. The five broad approaches being taken by SGBs for trans athletes to be eligible to compete:
      1. No additional conditions to competing;
      2. Declaration of gender;
      3. Regulation of testosterone levels;
      4. A requirement to have undergone sex reassignment surgery; and
      5. Complete prohibition on competing in identified gender.
    4. Summary of findings.

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About the Author

Olivia Amos

Olivia Amos

Olivia is an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team at Northridge Law LLP. Olivia specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, particularly in the sports sector, and has acted on cases before the English High Court and international arbitral bodies such as the SCC, the HKIAC and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Olivia also has experience of football-specific dispute forums, such as FIFA’s Player Status Committee and Dispute Resolution Committee. She has worked on a range of matters involving sports bodies’ rules and regulations - including intermediaries regulations, player transfer regulations, third party interest regulations and competition rules – and also general commercial disputes.Olivia has completed the BASL/De Montfort Law School Diploma in Sports Law and Practice with distinction.

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