• Transgender athletes will find it easier to participate in the next Olympic Games after changes to IOC guidelines. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The International Olympic Committee has moved to make it easier for transgender athletes to qualify for the Olympics without surgery.
Drew Sheldrick

26 Jan 2016 - 11:34 AM  UPDATED 26 Jan 2016 - 11:34 AM

New guidelines released by the International Olympic Committee will allow transgender athletes to qualify for competition at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

An IOC consensus meeting in November last year agreed that sports organisations should take in to consideration those who gender transition when determining their eligibility to compete in male and female competition.

The conditions for consideration include that athletes cannot change their gender for sporting purposes (after their initial declaration) for a minimum of four years. Some testosterone level testing also applies for athletes transitioning from male-to-female.

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“I don’t think many federations have rules on defining eligibility of transgender individuals. This should give them the confidence and stimulus to put these rules in place," IOC medical director Dr Richard Budgett said.

The guidelines state that it is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that "trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition". They also state that surgery is not required for proof of an athlete's gender transition.

"The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. Restrictions on participation are appropriate to the extent that they are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of that objective," the guidelines read.

"To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights."

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