"Vaginoplasty or phalloplasty."
The trans athlete issue certainly was one of the more polarizing stories of the just-wrapped 2023. While some corners celebrated the beautiful dominance of women’s divisions by the likes of Lia Thomas others decried the lack of fairness, having those born male competing against those born female.
Momentum Generation funnyman and Kelly Slater bandmate Peter King found himself firmly amongst the latter, declaring, “Stay out of women’s sports where you miraculously win after being an average performing man. Women’s sports is not a backup plan where you can’t win a trophy (And $) in the men’s division. Leagues like WSL and sponsors like Red Bull will you now stand up to this now instead of harming women’s sports?”
Kelly Slater, himself, offered, “Make a trans division and we don’t have this confusion.”
Surfing did neither and embraced one of the most liberal policies of any sport governing body. In the March 7, 2023 ruling, The International Surfing Association declared trans athletes are welcome if:
1. The athlete provides a written and signed declaration that she identifies as a woman.
2. The athlete demonstrates to the satisfaction of the ISA Medical Commission that she has maintained a concentration of testosterone in her serum of less than 5 nmol/L continuously for the previous 12 months. The Medical Commission will provide guidance to any athlete seeking an assessment of her eligibility on how she can demonstrate that she has met this requirement.
The World Surf League, which bills itself as the “global home of surfing” was too spineless to make its own ruling and adopted the ISA’s.
The lowest of hurdles and glorious except… might the powers be rubbernecking professional boxing which has just decreed that trans athletes wishing to compete in women’s division cannot merely sign a declaration and self-report testosterone levels but undergo surgery.
Transgender boxers must have surgery to compete in leagues that match their gender identity, according to new regulations from USA Boxing that took effect this week.
USA Boxing, the national entity that governs boxing’s official rules and regulations, released the new policies on December 29 as part of the organization’s biannual rulebook update. Under the new rules, which took effect January 1, both trans women and trans men are required to meet several new criteria in order to compete as their lived gender. USA Boxing will now require trans athletes to declare they have “completed gender reassignment surgery” and provide at least four years of quarterly hormone evaluations before stepping in the ring with an opponent.
The new policies do not define “gender reassignment surgery,” but the term usually refers to vaginoplasty or phalloplasty for trans women and men respectively. It is unclear whether other types of bottom surgery like orchiectomies would meet USA Boxing’s new rules. (Them has reached out to USA Boxing for comment and will update this piece if we hear back.) Boxers under the age of 18 must compete as their sex assigned at birth, with no exceptions.
A draconian rolling back of progress?
If you have thoughts, please share.