The writer worries the move will be exploited by ‘medal-hungry male athletes’.
Times columnist Janice Turner has questioned plans to allow trans women to compete in the Olympics without undergoing surgery beforehand.
In a bid to resolve some of the issues previously facing trans and intersex athletes, the International Olympic Committee is set to adopt a new policy on “Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism”.
Trans women will still face some obstacles when taking part in women’s events – requiring a consistent testosterone level “below 10 nmol/L” – but there will no longer be restrictions placed on those who haven’t undergone gender surgery.
Turner says this is “great news – unless you are a woman athlete.”
“A male-to-female trans athlete will be allowed to have more than three times the upper range of this performance-enhancing hormone than a born woman,” she writes in The Times.
“And while taking female hormones reduces male muscle mass and bone density, many biological advantages remain.
“Men have bigger skeletons, longer stride, larger lung capacity, and a narrower pelvis — unhindered by female reproductive organs — all better suited for speed.”
She adds that although the move may be more inclusive, it risks being exploited by some – and may even damage trans equality in the future.
“This is bound to be exploited by medal-hungry male athletes in unscrupulous nations,” she writes.
“The Iranian women’s football team already contains eight trans-females.
“Nor am I convinced this will help the trans-gender cause since an Olympic women’s event won by a strapping former man will provoke a mocking global backlash,” Turner claims.
“But even questioning this risks the fury of the vociferous trans lobby. Not a single sportswoman has yet dared to say the obvious: this is unfair.”
However, trans medical expert Joanna Harper – who helped shape the guidelines – disagrees.
“The new IOC transgender guidelines fix almost all of the deficiencies with the old rules,” she told Outsports.
“Hopefully, organizations such as the ITA will quickly adapt to the new IOC guidelines and all of the outdate trans policies will get replaced soon.”