Sport-Not a perfect solution to the transgender problem, USOPC says

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) – There are no perfect solutions to the problem of transgender sport, the head of the United States Olympic Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said on Thursday, adding that not even his own board agreed on a further path forward.

The transgender sport debate exploded this week after FINA, swimming’s world governing body, voted to limit the participation of transgender competitors in women’s competitions and introduce an “open” category, a move widely opposed by LGBT rights advocates.

Following FINA’s decision, many other sports governing bodies, including world football’s governing body FIFA and World Athletics, have reviewed their guidelines on transgender suitability.

The International Olympic Committee said in November that no athlete should be barred from competing because of a perceived unfair advantage, while leaving it up to the International Sports Federations (IF) to decide where the balance is between inclusion and fairness.

USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons said her organization would also let the IFs and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) develop guidelines, but expects to be part of the discussion.

“I think we can all agree that there are no perfect solutions to this very complex issue,” said Lyons, whose tenure as CEO ends in January. “Things have to be decided at the association level.

“We are not the decision makers on what the policy will be, but we are committed to being informed and educated and providing all the tools our NGBs need as they work with their IFs to try to create their own policy.” develop. “

Proponents of transgender inclusion argue that insufficient studies have been conducted on the effects of transition on physical performance and that elite athletes are often physical outliers anyway.

However, balancing the core values ​​of the Olympic Movement – ​​safety, fairness and inclusion – and the individual rights of athletes is a tricky equation.

“Part of inclusion is an athlete’s individual right to compete,” said Lyons. “These a-values ​​are in contradiction in this particular case.

“Not everyone agrees. Even on our own board, I would say we haven’t agreed yet on whether one of those values ​​needs to take precedence over another, or more,” she added.

“We don’t have all the answers yet, we don’t even have all the agreements yet, but we will try to offer as much support as possible to our partner NGBs as they struggle to set policies on this.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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