The World Athletics Federation has tightened transgender restrictions. Transgender women will no longer be allowed to participate in world ranking competitions in the women’s category after going through male puberty, regardless of their current testosterone levels. As World Athletic (WA) announced, the exclusion will apply from March 31st.

Since there are no separate competitions for trans women, this rule amounts to a complete ban on trans athletes.

Before the decision was made, consultations were held with various stakeholders and with the International Olympic Committee. “It became clear that the option first presented to stakeholders, which required transgender athletes to maintain their testosterone levels below 2.5 nmol/L for 24 months in order to compete internationally in the female category, was within the Sports found little support,” said a statement from the association.

World Athletics also decided to lower the allowable blood testosterone levels for people with differential sex development (DSD), such as two-time 800m Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa. The testosterone level in DSD athletes must drop from five to below 2.5 nanomoles per liter and remain below this value for two years instead of one year so that they can compete internationally in the women’s class. This now applies to all disciplines and no longer just to running distances of 400 meters to one mile.

World President Sebastian Coe said a majority of respondents said “transgender athletes should not compete in the female category.” Many believe there is not enough evidence that trans women do not have advantages over biological women. As more evidence becomes available, “we will review our position. But we believe the integrity of the women’s category in athletics comes first,” said Coe.

The decision to exclude transgender women “is based on an overriding need to protect the female category,” Coe said.

Last June, the world swimming federation FINA decided to exclude transgender women from elite competitions if they have gone through part of male puberty.