Transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to new guidelines adopted by the I.O.C.
International Olympic Committee medical officials told The Associated Press on Sunday they changed the policy to adapt to current scientific, social and legal attitudes on transgender issues.
The guidelines are designed as recommendations — not rules or regulations — for international sports federations and other bodies to follow and should apply for this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I don’t think many federations have rules on defining eligibility of transgender individuals,” I.O.C. medical director Dr. Richard Budgett said in a telephone interview. “This should give them the confidence and stimulus to put these rules in place.”
Under the previous I.O.C. guidelines, approved in 2003, athletes who transitioned from male to female or vice versa were required to have reassignment surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy in order to be eligible to compete.