Updated 03:59 AM EDT, Fri, Sep 25, 2020

Rio Olympics 2016: Transgender Athletes Allowed to Compete

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The International Olympic Committee will be implementing new guidelines that lessen the restrictions imposed on transgender athletes. The updated policy will take effect starting in this year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The new guidelines state that male-to-female transgender athletes can now participate in women's competitions as long as they show legitimate proof that their testosterone level has not exceeded the prescribed IOC standard for at least a year before the start of the event.

The transgender woman should also list her gender as "Female." She won't be able to change it while participating in any competitive sports events for the next four years, as per New York Post.

As for female-to-male transgender athletes, they can now compete in men's competitions without having to show proof of undergoing sex-change surgery.

The policy is meant to keep up with the latest scientific, social and legal viewpoints on transgender individuals. IEC officials said the new directives are merely "recommendations" and should not be deemed as exacting rules, Fox News reported.

"This is a scientific consensus paper, not a rule or regulation," said IOC medical director Richard Budgett. "It is the advice of the medical and scientific commission and what we consider the best advice."

The IOC insisted that the new guidelines will be set into motion in order to foster the spirit of fair play.

"It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition," the IOC indicated in PDF documented shared on the governing body's official website. "The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition."

RT noted that under the previous IOC regulations, transgender athletes had to prove that they have undergone sex-change surgery before being allowed to participate in the Olympics. They also had to show evidence that they had completed the required two years of hormonal therapy prior to the start of the events. These circa 2003 guidelines applied to both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender athletes.

Budgett hopes the new guidelines will be adopted by several international sports federations. He said, "I don't think many federations have rules on defining eligibility of transgender individuals."

He added that the implementation of the updated regulations at the 2016 Rio Olympics should be enough for different sports federations to be confident in applying the changes to their respective organizations.

This year's Summer Games will take place from August 5 to 21. The gathering is expected to draw more than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries. They will compete in 306 events in 28 different sports.

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