How can we include transgender and intersex athletes?

Inclusion of transgender and intersex people in athletics to be discussed at a free event at the University of Brighton.

Professor Yannis Pitsiladis

Professor Yannis Pitsiladis

Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and transgender athlete from the USA, and Professor Yannis Pitsiladis, the University’s Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, will discuss claims of unfairness levelled at transgender competitors who are considered to have an advantage over those born female.

Ms Harper, based at Providence Portland Medical Centre in Oregon, and Professor Pitsiladis, who researches the detection of drugs in sport, will present a roadmap to guide the implementation of rules for the inclusion for transgender and intersex athletes.

Joanna Harper

Joanna Harper

Both argue: “In the attempt to separate athletes into male and female categories, one should only look at those sex and/or gender based qualities that are important for athletic performance.”

They propose that evidence-based scientific research should be the foundation for making decisions on participation in sex-segregated sports and suggest that the concept of an athletic gender should be established in order to facilitate this segregation.

Professor Pitsiladis said the discussion addresses an increasingly important subject: “Sporting bodies remain entangled in debate over how to include transgender and intersex athletes with high levels of bio-available testosterone in competition with cisgender athletes. The recent ruling by the highest court in Germany in favour of the introduction of a third gender category for individuals who do not identify as either male or female or are born with an ambiguous sexual anatomy has brought this important matter to a fore.

“At this event, Joanna and I hope to present a roadmap towards a fair, objective and scientifically meaningful integration of transgender and intersex athletes into elite sport and in a manner that is consistent with the Olympic Charter.”


Event: Beyond Fairness

Where: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton BN2 0JY

When: Tuesday, March 20

Time: 6.30pm

Cost: Free entry

To register attendance, click here:

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