Integrating transwomen athletes into elite competition: the case of elite archery and shooting

Blair Hamilton, Fergus Guppy, James Barrett, Leighton Seal, Yannis Pitsiladis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The inclusion of transwomen into elite female sport has been brought into question recently with World Rugby banning transwomen from the elite female competition, aiming to prioritise safety over fairness and inclusion, citing the size, force and power-producing advantages conferred to transwomen. The same question is being asked of all Olympic sports including non-contact sports such as archery and shooting. As both these Olympic sports are the polar opposite to the contact sport of rugby in terms of the need to consider the safety of athletes, the IF of both archery and shooting should consider the other elements when deciding the integration of trans individuals in their sports. Studies on non-athletic transwomen have reported muscle mass and strength loss in the range of 5–10% after 1 year of their transition, with these differences no longer apparent after 2 years. Therefore, based on the current scientific literature, it would be justified for meaningful competition and to prioritise fairness, that transwomen be permitted to compete in elite archery after 2 years of GAT. Similarly, it would be justified in terms of shooting to prioritise inclusion and allow transwomen after 1 year of GAT given that the only negligible advantage that transwomen may have is superior visuospatial coordination. The impact of this considered integration of transwomen in elite sports such as archery and shooting could be monitored and lessons learned for other sports, especially where there are no safety concerns from contact with an opponent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Keywords

  • Transwomen
  • archery
  • competition
  • eligibility
  • shooting
  • sport

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