USA Powerlifting has banned trans women from competing. Their website makes it clear that they do not consider it about discrimination, but rather about fairness to all participants. And on their website (quoted below) they provide links to the science supporting their decision.
“While the term discrimination is used to catch the attention of the public, it is most often misused. We are a sports organization with rules and policies. They apply to everyone to provide a level playing field.”
USA Powerlifting made the policy after its researchers concluded biological men have an unfair advantage over biological women in powerlifting that extends beyond testosterone levels and cannot be reversed with hormones. Biological men who identify as a woman are allowed to compete with men, or in an open division.
The federation has since explained and defended its decision in several forums, including in a newsletter update, which said, “While it might be emotionally provoking to demand the rights of a few, the rights of others — the athletes who wish to compete in an organization with rules that provide clean and fair sport — must also be considered.”
The first has to do with the use of testosterone or other androgens, commonly used to assist in transition from female to male. By virtue of the anabolic nature of these compounds, they are not allowed, nor is a Therapeutic Use Exemption granted for such use for anyone. This applies to any and all medical conditions which might be treated through use of androgens.
The second area involves the participation of male to female competitors. Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence naturally occurring androgens as the level necessary for male development, significant advantages are had, including but not limited to increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue. These advantages are not eliminated by reduction of serum androgens such as testosterone yielding a potential advantage in strength sports such as powerlifting.
The science behind this policy can be read in Dr Kris Hunt’s 2019 Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) Report. Dr Hunt presented this report at the National Governing Body (NGB) Meeting, his full presentation can be viewed on YouTube. (Supporting Powerpointused during NGB Meeting.)
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