hannah mouncy transgender athlete sports
© Nicole Garmston
Hannah Mouncey
Transgender women who have experienced male puberty will not be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions, the World Athletics announced Thursday.

The international council opted to ban the swath of prospective athletes instead of continuing to follow its previous rules that placed parameters on the testosterone levels of transgender female athletes.

Previously, transgender women were required to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of 2.5 nanomoles for a period of 24 months to qualify for competition. After consulting with various stakeholders — including transgender representatives — World Athletics found there was "little support" for the regulations.

Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President
© Getty Images for European Athletics
Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President, said the decision was made in order to maintain fairness for women athletes.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told BBC that the decision was "guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category."

He noted that there are currently no transgender female athletes competing internationally in the sport who would be affected by the new rules, which are set to take effect March 31.

World Athletics ruled transgender female athletes who experienced male puberty cannot compete in international competition. Getty Images
Lia thomas
© Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Lia Thomas (centre top) demonstrates why transgender males should not be permitted to compete in women's sports
The organization — which oversees sporting events involving competitive running, jumping, throwing and walking — argued the lack of representation made it difficult to evaluate the fairness of female competition in athletics, so the group ultimately "decided to prioritise fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion."

The exclusionary rules could change in the next year, Coe said — World Athletics will set up a working group to further research the transgender eligibility guidelines over the next 12 months.

"We're not saying no forever," he told BBC.

In the same announcement, World Athletics announced it would be strengthening its regulations for Differences in Sex Development (DSD), or intersex, athletes.

As of March 31, DSD athletes will be placed under the same testosterone-limiting regulations transgender female athletes previously adhered to.

The new rules will replace the only existing regulation for DSD athletes, which prevented them from participating in events ranging from 400m to a mile.

DSD athletes already competing will be yanked from competition until they can reduce their testosterone levels to appropriate ranges for six consecutive months, the organization said.

"Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations," Coe said in a statement.

"We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount."