Hormone therapy means trans women compete ‘meaningfully’ in sport, says Olympic adviser

31 March 2022, 16:34

Olympic advisor says trans women can compete fairly in most sports

By James Bickerton

Trans women can take part in "meaningful competition" in most sports, due to hormone therapy, according to an Olympic health adviser.

The claim was made by Dr Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and competitive runner who has advised the International Olympic Committee about gender.

Appearing on Shelagh Fogarty’s LBC show, she argued: "Hormone therapy won’t turn trans women into cis gender or typical women, but I think in most sports the mitigation of athletic capabilities that occurs with hormone therapy is enough to create meaningful competition."

However, Dr Harper added it’s not clear exactly how much difference hormone therapy makes to sporting ability.

She said: "There are very important reasons why we have men’s sport and women’s sport.

"It is unclear exactly what changes occur in trans women athletes with hormone therapy."

READ MORE: Female riders 'threatened boycott' if trans cyclist Emily Bridges was allowed to race

Rachel Johnson: 'Is there any scope for having a Trans Olympics?'

"Trans women athletes are certainly going to lose athletic capabilities, but it’s unclear whether they will come down to the same level as other women."

On Thursday cycling’s world governing body ruled Emily Bridges, a British trans woman athlete, can’t compete in the National Omnium Championships on Saturday.

Ms Bridges began hormone treatment last year, before which she competed as a man.

Dr Harper expressed hope some "compromise" will be reached regarding trans women in sport, but added "I’m not certain we will get there anywhere soon".

She explained: "There are a lot of emotive opinions on either side, a lot of enmity, I am hopeful that eventually we will reach some of compromise position."

READ MORE: Welsh Tory comes out as first trans MP after revealing rape and £50,000 blackmail plot

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