British Rowing has introduced a policy barring transgender women from competing in women’s events at its competitions.
The sport’s governing body said Thursday only women “assigned female at birth” may compete in its women’s races and represent Britain internationally beginning in September, according to an Associated Press report.
Transgender and nonbinary individuals may be allowed to compete in a “mixed category” if at least 50% of the crew are eligible to compete as women.
“Our policy has been developed following extensive and ongoing research and consultation with stakeholders, the rowing community, academics, and other relevant organisations, and NGBs since 2021 and is based on the scientific evidence available at this time,” the sports body said in a statement.
Eligibility requirements of World Rowing, the international federation, were considered in the decision, the statement added.
World Rowing permits transgender women competitors in its events whose testosterone levels have remained below five nanomoles per liter for 12 months, according to a Washington Examiner report.
The policy announcement from the rowing organization comes about one year after British Cycling prohibited transgender and nonbinary cyclists from its competitive races.
For now, the cycling authority lets them race in noncompetitive races until they “find a timely solution, which achieves fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”
This move by British Rowing comes amid a larger international debate on transgender participation in sports. Notably, in the U.S., House Republicans passed a bill with the intention of preventing transgender women and girls from participating in women’s athletic programs. According to The New York Times, the bill has met with opposition from the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Biden who has declared that he would veto it should it reach his desk.
Transgender athletes have been restricted to competing in sports that match their biological gender by legislation enacted by 21 U.S. states, according to a New York Times report.
Biden proposed a rule to allow schools to exclude some transgender athletes from specific teams without mandating a blanket ban to remain compliant with Title IX guidelines as they interpret them.