In a decision that has raised significant concerns about the fairness and safety in women’s boxing, USA Boxing, the national governing body for amateur and Olympic boxing in the United States, has announced a new policy allowing transgender athletes to compete against female fighters under stringent regulatory conditions starting from 2024.
NEW: USA Boxing will now allow biological males to compete with females starting in 2024 under their new "Transgender Policy."
South Park was right once again.
The new rule states that once the individual is over the age of 18, they will be able to compete in the division of… pic.twitter.com/EQ1HLF9zwx
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 31, 2023
According to the new “Transgender Policy” by USA Boxing, athletes under 18 years of age are required to compete in accordance with their sex assigned at birth. For those over 18, the policy permits transgender fighters to compete in their self-identified gender category, provided they adhere to specific regulations. These include a formal declaration of their gender identity, completion of gender reassignment surgery, and undergoing regular hormone testing, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The policy mandates that both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender athletes undergo quarterly hormone testing, with documentation of hormone levels submitted to USA Boxing for a minimum of four years post-surgery. Specifically, male-to-female athletes are required to show that their total testosterone level in serum has been below 5 nmol/L for at least 48 months before their first competition in the female category, and must maintain these levels to be eligible to compete.
This ruling comes amidst ongoing debates about the impact of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Critics point to cases like that of Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer who, despite undergoing testosterone suppression therapy, dominated in women’s swimming events. This has sparked concerns about physical advantages held by athletes who have gone through male puberty, especially in contact sports like boxing.
USA Boxing’s decision, which follows the International Olympic Committee’s 2021 stance allowing individual sports’ governing bodies to set their own transgender policies, has been met with skepticism by those who argue it could compromise the safety and integrity of women’s boxing. This policy emerges even as there are reports of female competitors withdrawing from martial arts tournaments due to safety concerns when facing male-born opponents.
The move by USA Boxing, while aimed at inclusivity, is viewed by some as a potential risk to the safety and fairness in women’s boxing, raising questions about the balance between inclusion and competitive integrity in sports.