Sebastian Coe, the President of World Athletics and former Chairman of the British Olympic Association, has defended trans participation in local sports events.
In March 2023, Coe said that “transgender athletes should not be competing in the female category”, revealing at a press conference in Monaco that trans women who transitioned after puberty would henceforth “not be allowed to participate in women’s events.”
“Where the science is insufficient to justify maintaining testosterone suppression for transgender athletes, the council agreed it must be guided by our overarching principle, which is to protect the female category,” Coe said at the time.
“We cannot in all conscience leave our transgender regulations as they were at five nanomoles per litre for at least one year when we were unsure about the impact of doing so across all our disciplines. So we need to know more and we need to know more now.”
However, Coe has now clarified that he draws the line at banning people from local events. “The transgender issue is only at [an] elite level,” he told the Up Front podcast in a new interview. “I’m not saying trans people shouldn’t be able to compete at a local level – we don’t want them to be denied the mental and physical [benefits].”
Despite these comments, he doubled down on his stance about competitive competing, stating that: “The decision ultimately was based on one very simple proposition. I am elected to protect the female category and if I don’t do that, no woman will ever win another [medal] again.”
Drawing on an anecdote, he recently said elsewhere that whilst he was raising his four children, his two daughters would kick “the butts of their brothers” when they were in primary school, but when “puberty kicked in”, they couldn’t keep up.