On Thursday, World Athletics voted to ban transgender women from competing against other females in international athletic events. The organization made this decision in order to “prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”

Seb Coe, the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, spoke at a press conference about this ruling, saying, “The World Athletics council has taken the decisive action to protect the female category in our sport.”

“The council has agreed to exclude male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from female world ranking competitions from March 31 this year,” Ceo said. “The decision that the council made is a primarily principle-based decision that is the overarching need to protect the female category. This is what our sport is here to do.”

“The majority of those consulted stated that transgender athletes should not be competing in the female category,” Coe added. “Many believe there is insufficient evidence that transwomen do not retain advantage over biological women.”

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Initially, World Athletics had planned to allow transgender women to continue competing in the female category. However, there was “little support” among stakeholders when this option was presented.

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“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” Coe said.

Coe also stated that this ruling is not necessarily permanent, and will be reevaluated as transgender treatment evolves.

“We will be guided in this by science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years,” he said. “As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

This decision came as a milestone for many women and athletes who have long advocated for fairness in women’s sports.

Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies commended World Athletics for this decision, tweeting, “Thank you [Seb Coe] & [World Athletics] for standing up for female athletes across the world who are worthy of fair sport”.

Davies also tweeted, “Protecting the female category must include young girls, masters females & schools too. They all deserve their right to fair sport. This cannot just be about elite. School girls, Club athletes & masters racers (as well protecting the pathway) is no less worthy of fair competition.”

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