Transgender athletes are technically allowed to participate in the Paris Olympics, however, a new rule requires that those participating to have completed their transition before the age of 12 to compete.
This rule is meant to ensure the hormonal development that occurs during puberty bears no interference and offers no advantage to those who have transitioned. According to Pink News, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suggested that transitioning after the age of 12 could give an advantage to athletes over their cisgender competitors.
In March of 2023, the World Athletics Council (the governing body of athletics) banned women who have undergone male puberty from competing in elite female competitions, a decision which was enacted on Transgender Day of Visibility. Such decisions are often asserted as efforts to ‘safeguard’ women’s sports.
The decision echoed a similar sentiment set by World Aquatics when it enacted its “Gender Inclusion Policy” in June 2022, a policy which is now being legally challenged by professional trans swimmer, Lia Thomas.
The IOC’s past guidelines allowed transgender women to compete as long as their testosterone levels were below a certain level according to Inside the Games.