Worley blasts World Athletics transgender ban

Cyclist Kristen Worley, the first transitioned athlete to successfully legally challenge the gender policies of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Thursday called World Athletics’ ban on transgender woman athletes “disheartening and disappointing.”

Worley sought to compete for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but because of health issues related to the IOC’s gender verification process, she was physically unable to perform.

She has since become an educator on the topic of transgender athletes and safeguarding women in sports.

“What’s happening is the most vulnerable are being excluded from sport more for political reasons and not based on science and research,” Worley told Reuters.

“This has effects not just at the international levels but consequently over communities across the globe including communities in the United States.”

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe early on Thursday said that the decision to exclude transgender women who had gone through male puberty was based “on the overarching need to protect the female category.”

The tighter measures around one of the most contentious and divisive issues in sport follow a similar move by World Aquatics in 2022.

But Worley said the notion that transgender women athletes are dominating women’s sports was nonsense.

“I’m watching all the news groups put out images on Twitter with no images of transitioned athletes at the elite levels of the World Athletics because there aren’t any,” she said.

“So this is purely a political move by Seb Coe and World Athletics to deal with the right-wing issues, political relationships and obviously potential sponsors that are funding World Athletics today.”

Coe said the governing body was “not saying no forever,” and announced the formation of a working group, which will be chaired by a transgender athlete, to further study the issue of trans inclusion.

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