British Triathlon creates an ‘open’ category for transgender athletes
Following a period of deliberation and consultation, British Triathlon (BTF) has just announced the creation of an OPEN category for transgender athletes.
TL;DR: Transgender athletes and men will compete together in an OPEN category whereas females (sex from birth) have their own category.
There are a small number of high-profile cases at competitive levels in various sports where transgender athletes competing in women’s events were deemed by some to have an unfair advantage gained by going through male puberty.
One example is swimming where FINA recently banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they have experienced any part of male puberty. Another was last month, in June 2022, when the UK Rugby League’s governing body temporarily banned transgender women from Women’s Internationals pending the result of further research to “balance the individual’s right to participate… against perceived risk to other participants”.
British Triathlon surveyed its 3,000 members earlier this year (including me!) and found that 80% were in support of an OPEN category. Naturally, it widely consulted on the matter and also took legal advice.
We believe this is the right policy for triathlon in Great Britain, and the right time to publish it. We have taken legal advice and are confident it’s legally robust. @AndySalmon (CEO, BTF)
The BTF will now draft guidance for event organisers which will be shared later this year in advance of a requirement to implement it on 1st January 2023.
Q: Which athletes does the OPEN category affect?
A: Everyone should understand the implication but most obviously, competitive women’s events are reserved “for those who are female sex at birth”.
Q: When does the OPEN category start?
A: 1st January, 2023 is when the OPEN category will start.
Q: Will it affect my local triathlon in the UK?
A: Most probably yes. The OPEN category will exist for every event, even grassroots events, where there are prizes, qualifications and rankings on offer
Q: Who exactly will be in the OPEN category for triathlon in the UK?
A: Male athletes, [male and female] transgender athletes and those non-binary who were male sex at birth.
Q: So will there be categories for MALE, FEMALE and OPEN?
A: No, FEMALE and OPEN.
I think I’m a bit too scared to have an opinion on this one! Gulp.
I’ll remind readers that this blog is deliberately written to avoid the words that would indicate it is written by either a male, female, black, white or transgender triathlete. Except this one article…
More: British Triathlon
NEW | GB Triathlon supremo @AndySalmon3 tells me why it’s become the 1st British sport to establish a new ‘open’ category in which transgender athletes will have to compete, with female races reserved “for those who are female sex at birth” https://t.co/K2FYZX8RFt
VIDEO ? pic.twitter.com/P6qVvQR1ns
— Dan Roan (@danroan) July 6, 2022
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