Two transgender runners were recently deemed ineligible to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Transgender runner CeCe Telfer and New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard were recently disqualified from their respective sports after originally qualifying for Tokyo. Telfer was ruled ineligible to compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials for not meeting the World Athletics eligibility regulations for certain women’s events (Fox Sports).
In 2019, World Athletics released guidelines that restricted international women’s events between 400 meters and a mile to female athletes whose testosterone levels fell below 5 nmol/L and sustain that level for at least a year. According to The Conversation, Doctors measure normal levels of testosterone to be in a healthy range of 9.2 to 31.8 nmol/L for males, and 0.3 to 2.4 nmol/L for females.
Hubbard was record to have a testosterone level of 10 nmol/L, which is on the lower end for a male but far exceeds the allowed amount for females. Both Hubbard and Telfer compete in men’s sports prior to transitioning. Telfer competed for the men’s team at Division II Franklin Pierce but took time off before coming back to compete for the women’s team. In 2019, she became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA title.
As for Hubbard, she transitioned 2012 after competing in as a male in juniors matches. According to CNN, Hubbard’s first competition after transitioning, which was in 2017, was a blowout. In light of Hubbard’s eligibility being originally approved for Tokyo, a petition against transgender athletes was created (Independent).
The petition as gain over 21,000 signatures since its creation. With the recent decision to withhold eligibility for these athletes comes further discussion on inclusivity and expectations surrounding transgender athletes’ participation on the global athletic stage.
ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OUTSPORTS