USA Boxing will allow transgender women to fight against biological women once they’ve had hormone therapy and surgery
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The controversial ruling will allow men to compete against women, provided they’ve had surgery and hormone treatment
USA Boxing will allow men who transition to female to fight against biological women under certain conditions, the organization has stated in its 2024 rulebook. The decision has been heavily criticized by boxers, with one former champion describing it as “men, basically, beating up women.”
Under the new rules, men over the age of 18 will be able to compete against women provided that they complete gender reassignment surgery, and submit to quarterly hormone testing for four years.
Transgender competitors must prove that they have a plasma testosterone concentration of less than 5 nanomoles per liter for these four years. Between 10 to 35 nmol/L is considered normal in adult men, and 0.5 to 2.4 nmol/L in adult women.
“The purpose of this policy is to provide fairness and safety for all boxers,” USA Boxing stated when announcing the policy.
However, other sporting bodies have abandoned similar policies in favor of blanket bans on trans competitors. Low testosterone levels are not enough to “completely eliminate the benefits of testosterone during puberty in men,” the International Cycling Union said earlier this year, adding that transgender women enjoy “biomechanical advantages” due to their male bone structure.
Studies have shown that transgender women retain an athletic advantage over biological women even after two years of taking female hormones.
World Athletics, the governing body for track and field and other running competitions, FINA, the governing body for swimming, and World Rugby, have all barred transgender women from women’s competitions.
USA Boxing’s decision was condemned by athletes, with former world champion Ebanie Bridges calling it “wrong on so many levels.”
“It’s bad enough having trans women breaking records in other sports like track and field, swimming and powerlifting, but it’s a bit different to them breaking our skulls in combat sports where the aim is to HURT YOU,” Bridges wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday.
“Cutting your bits off and adding boobs won’t take back the masculine maturity your body has gone through before you decided you are now a woman,” she added.
“It’s a man, basically, beating up a woman,” British boxer Carl Froch told the New York Post earlier this year, when the policy was being debated. “A man born a man with the XY chromosome fighting a woman, who’s a woman with a uterus. Shouldn’t happen ever. Should be banned and outlawed. It should never, ever happen,” he said.
USA Boxing regulates amateur boxing in the US, and American athletes seeking to represent the country at the Olympic Games must compete in its events. The International Olympic Committee has refused to issue a transgender policy of its own, instead tasking organizations like USA Boxing and World Boxing with setting their own rules.