World Athletics Bans Transgender Women and Tightens Testosterone Rules for Women Athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (“DSD")

On March 23, 2023, World Athletics announced new rules applying to transgender women and women with DSD who wish to participate in international competitions and national senior championships. The rules entered into force on March 31, 2023.

The transgender rules effectively prohibit the participation of transgender women in the female category. The rules adopted by World Athletics' Council, a political body, are a stark departure from previous regulations and more lenient proposed rules World Athletics staff had presented to stakeholders.

The sports governing body has also tightened the rules regarding eligibility of female athletes with DSD to compete in the female category.

The new DSD rules apply to all track and field events at international competitions and national senior championships, whereas the previous regulations only applied to track events between 400m and 1 mile. Affected female athletes are required to reduce their blood testosterone level below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for at least two consecutive years (subject to certain transitional provisions for athletes currently competing in previously unregulated events), whereas the previous threshold was 5 nmol/L for at least six months.