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In November 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released the Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations.1 The Framework aims to support International Federations (IFs) in the development of policies in relation to the participation of transgender (trans) athletes and/or athletes with sex variations that are sport-specific, evidence-based and rights-respecting. (The IOC Framework is informed by a human rights approach in its broadest sense, thereby also including the right to participate in sport as enshrined in the Olympic Charter). The Framework followed a unique and extensive process of stakeholder engagement, which considered all athletes including trans athletes and athletes with sex variations, as well as human rights, legal, scientific and medical experts. The purpose of this paper is to provide the international sports science and medicine community with an updated explanation of what the Framework is, how it aligns with existing scientific and medical knowledge and how it can usefully be put into practice across individual sports settings.
The Framework serves as the comprehensive overarching reference document to guide the Olympic Movement in navigating this complex topic. It is informed by three values that are foundational to the Olympic Movement: fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination. When considering whether and how to introduce eligibility criteria for sex-segregated competition, IFs are encouraged to develop policy responses that embody all three of these values. To aid in this process, the Framework translates the values of fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination into 10 principles (figure 1). These principles, which are to be used as a cohesive whole, support IFs to undertake a holistic and comprehensive decision-making process that considers the current state of scientific and medical knowledge2 as well as ethical,3 legal,4 human rights,5 safeguarding6 and social7 considerations. The Framework also …
Contributors All coauthors have evenly contributed to the final manuscript/commentary.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.