Nonetheless, there may be comparatively little scientific analysis on transgender elite athletes. And whereas the function of testosterone in bodily power and endurance is robust, analysis has not been in a position to assess its exact results on efficiency.
Final yr, World Athletics, the world’s governing physique for athletics, which has imposed strict restrictions on runners competing in some girls’s occasions, reversed its analysis, admitting it had discovered no causal hyperlink between excessive testosterone ranges and higher athleticism. efficiency amongst feminine athletes.
It isn’t clear whether or not Thomas’ efficiency prompted FINA to undertake such a strict participation rule.
Thomas, who competed for the College of Pennsylvania, was praised by supporters this yr as a courageous and brave athlete, however his efficiency additionally drew backlash. Members of his personal staff complained about his participation, and a gaggle of Princeton swimmers went to the Ivy League commissioner to foyer in opposition to him.
A number of states have handed legal guidelines banning transgender girls from competing. Some states, together with Texas, have begun banning medical intervention for youthful kids to transition, which might disqualify them from assembly FINA laws.
The query now’s whether or not the swimming affiliation’s robust determination can have a trickle-down impact. Harper, who internationally helps sport-specific restrictions on transgender girls’s testosterone ranges, mentioned she is anxious that even native organizations really feel justified in banning transgender athletes. He cited a latest case of a 60-year-old transgender girl who was unable to take part in a garden bowling competitors.
“There’s a sure logic to it on the worldwide degree,” he mentioned of the restrictions. The hazard, he mentioned, is that individuals who make these selections on an leisure degree “take a look at FINA and put these guidelines on highschool children.”
Billy Witz, Jeré Longman, Azeen Ghorayshi and Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed to the reporting.