British Triathlon answer key questions on new transgender policy

What does British Triathlon's new transgender policy mean for transgender triathletes? How will it affect your racing? And how might it change in light of new research? Answering these and more it's over to British Triathlon


What does British Triathlon’s new transgender policy mean for transgender women?

Transgender women who are the male sex at birth will be able to compete in the Open Category as well as participate in recreational/non-competitive activities and events as the gender they identify as.


What does this mean for transgender men?

Transgender men who are the female sex at birth and who have or are transitioning involving hormone therapy treatment, will be able to compete in the Open Category provided they have a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

They would not be eligible for the Female category. They can also participate in recreational/non-competitive activities and events as the gender they identify as.

What if World Triathlon and/or other sports establish a different policy?

We have looked at what other sports are doing and have engaged with World Triathlon. However, the British Triathlon Board was resolute in its determination to establish a policy that is right for our sport in Great Britain specifically.

To this end, we took real cognisance of the outcomes from our consultation and of just how important gender equity is in triathlon and in swim, bike, run. We were keen to provide clarity and practical guidance as soon as possible so that participants, event organisers, clubs and coaches know what to expect next season.

When will additional guidance be published?

We will provide additional guidance to support event organisers, clubs, coaches and other key stakeholders on the implementation of the policy in autumn 2022, ahead of the policy coming into effect on 1 January 2023.

What happens if someone breaks the policy and enters the female category?

If British Triathlon is made aware of a transgender woman entering a permitted event, it will support the individual to provide evidence of compliance with the policy and if not complaint, advise the event organiser that the individual is able to participate in the event but not compete in the female category.

Why is triathlon considered a gender affected sport?

As a sport, triathlon has had gender equity from its inception, with our male and female athletes competing on the same course, on the same day for equal prize money.

Our male and female athletes also train alongside each other within our performance centres and as a result we are easily and reliably able to observe the advantages – in terms of both performance outcomes and physiology/biology – those athletes who are the male sex at birth have over athletes who are the female sex at birth.

We are also a sport made up of three distinct disciplines, each of which have a long history with clear differentials between the performances achieved between males and females.

What about selection for GB teams?

Olympic and Paralympic: We will work with BOA and BPA to specify eligibility criteria for Team GB and Paralympics GB. It would be our intent that the provisions of the BTF Policy be replicated in the respective selection policies.

World and Europe Triathlon races: Only people who are the female sex at birth will be eligible to be selected to represent GB for international events in the female category, irrespective of World and/or Europe Triathlon policy.

Age-group international races: Only people who are the female sex at birth will be eligible to be selected for international events in the female category, irrespective of the governing/organising committee policy.

Why is the Open category for all individuals, including male, transgender and those non-binary who were male sex at birth, and why not a separate open category for transgender athletes?

We consulted with our membership on various competitive structures, to explore how events could be run in our sport.

While event organisers may look at Male, Open and Female categories, we recognise that without significant numbers of athletes, an Open category specific to transgender athletes may not feel inclusive for those competing, so our policy stipulates an Open and a Female category for competitive events and an open format for non-competitive ones.

We will be working on guidance to support event organisers to run these categories well for all participants.

Will you change your policy in light of new scientific research?

We will review this policy every two years, or sooner if necessary, to ensure we stay across the latest developments, while ensuring any policy can be implemented in a practical and meaningful way within our sport.

Why does this policy only apply to competitions for those aged 12 and over?

According to the NHS, it’s perfectly normal for puberty to begin at any point between the ages of 8 and 13 in girls and 9 and 14 in boys. The average age for girls to start puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12.

Noting clause 195.4 in the Equality Act, we considered the age and stage of child competitors and the average age of puberty in boys and girls and concluded that the policy should regulate competitive activity from the age of 12.

Top image: British Triathlon