United States unveils new testosterone-level policy for elite transgender female swimmers

The United States’ governing body for competitive swimming has updated its policy on the eligibility of transgender athletes in elite events.

A three-person medical panel will now determine whether “prior physical development of the athlete as a male” gives transgender swimmers an unfair advantage, USA Swimming says.

The changes come in the aftermath of collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, breaking several US women’s swimming records.

USA Swimming said on Tuesday that transgender athletes who have undergone or are undergoing a male-to-female transition must now remain below a testosterone threshold of five nanometers per liter for 36 months before competitions.

Previously, transgender women were allowed to compete in women’s events if they had undergone a year of hormone-suppression therapy. The new policy was released on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

In a statement, USA Swimming said it “has and will continue to champion gender equity and the inclusivity of all cisgender and transgender women and their rights to participate in sport, while also fervently supporting competitive equity at elite levels of competition.”

The policy for elite athletes, it said, “acknowledges a competitive difference in the male and female categories and the disadvantages this presents in elite head-to-head competition.” They added that the policy serves “to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology.”




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