The Body Positive Fitness Alliance stands in solidarity with intersex, transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive athletes*. We believe that if a competition is divided into men’s and women’s divisions, individuals should participate in whichever gender division they most closely identify with. “Sex testing” athletes is an undue burden to the participants in question and promotes a hostile culture in sports.
- Asking participants to prove their gender through biological testing is an invasion of privacy and negates their humanity.
- Sex traits exist on a biological spectrum, and there is no simple dividing line between “men” and “women”. Thus, even if sex testing were an ethical practice, it’s not practical in reality, as there is no consensus in the medical community about how to define those markers. Learn more about the biological spectrum of sex traits here: “Sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.” Ainsworth. Nature, 2015.
- Many anti-trans activists claim to want to “protect women in sports” by implementing sex-testing barriers, but these policies foster cultures of fear and suspicion towards any women who perform “too well”, particularly BIPOC athletes.
- Sex-testing advocates often invoke “fairness” as a reason for implementing testing policies, but these same competitions make no considerations for other factors such as differences in nutrition, coaching, financial support, and other human variations like height and body mechanics.
ARE YOU A COACH OR EVENT ORGANIZER LOOKING FOR GUIDANCE ON ESTABLISHING AN INCLUSIVE GENDER POLICY?
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WHAT DOES A GENDER-INCLUSIVE POLICY LOOK LIKE IN COMPETITIVE SPORT?
The Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association in recent years, with the input of their membership, has evolved away from a sex-testing policy first adapted based on the International Olympic Committee policy in 2010 and instead has implemented this straightforward and inclusive framework to replace it. This sport is full-contact, highly competitive, and one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Implementing a gender-inclusive policy has been an asset to participants and WFTDA as an organization.
- “While the evidence indicates that higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone may increase athletic performance, the Panel is not satisfied that the degree of that advantage is more significant than the advantage derived from the numerous other variables which the parties acknowledge also affect female athletic performance: for example, nutrition, access to specialist training facilities and coaching and other genetic and biological variations.” –Court of Arbitration for Sport, July 2019
- The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes by Ruth Padawer
*Gender education and terminology resource: