USA Boxing on Friday officially adopted a new transgender policy, which will permit males who identify as female to compete against females if they meet certain qualifications.
The new policy was first proposed in August 2022, as highlighted by National Review, and outlines that male athletes, in addition to claiming to be female, must complete “gender reassignment surgery” and test their testosterone levels for four years following such procedures.
“The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 5 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter of blood) for at least 48 months prior to her first competition,” the policy says, adding that requirement “for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 48 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition.”
“The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 5 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category,” one requirement reads.
Notably, the guidance notes that the “normal range of testosterone for males is defined as more than 10 nanomoles per litre (10 namol/L) and normal range of testosterone for females is less than 3.1 nanomoles per litre (3.1 namol/L).”
According to University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health, the normal measurements for males is 10 to 35 nmol/L, and for women it’s 0.5 to 2.4 nmol/L.
A qualifying male, therefore, could have more than double the testosterone level of an average female competitor.
Boxers under 18 years old must compete against others with the same sex, no matter their declaration of gender identity, the guidance also clarifies.
USA Boxing has said in a statement that the adopted policy has been put in place “to provide fairness and safety for all boxers,” the Daily Mail reported.
The organization also claims that since USA Boxing’s International Federation (IF) has yet to determine eligibility for transgender boxers, the policy was necessary.
“Since boxing’s IF has not determined transgender eligibility and boxing is considered a combat sport, USA Boxing’s overriding objective is the safety of all boxers and fair competition between all boxers,” the guidance says.
Alternatively, critics of such transgender policies warn that permitting males to compete against females will destroy female sports, allow unfairness, erase girls’ and women’s spaces, and put females at physical risk.
A study published in 2021, for example, found that men who identify as transgender still maintained physical advantages against females, even after years of hormone therapy.