Olympic chiefs ban 'harmful' words describing trans athletes ahead of Paris 2024 - can't mention 'sex change'

Olympic chiefs ban 'harmful' words describing trans athletes ahead of Paris 2024 - can't mention 'sex change'

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Olympic chiefs ban 'harmful' words describing trans athletes

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway


Published: 07/06/2024

- 15:13

The rules are listed in a new 33-page document

The organisation in charge of running the Olympic Games have told journalists not to use a list of 'harmful' words when referring to transgender athletes competing at Paris 2024 this summer.

The International Olympic Committee has warned the media against using terms such as 'born male', 'born female', 'biologically male' and 'biologically female'.


They claim those terms are 'problematic language'.

The IOC has also urged the press to avoid mentioning the words 'sex change', 'post-operative surgery' and 'transsexual' as well.

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Trans news: Olympic chiefs have banned journalists from using 'harmful' words about transgender athletes ahead of Paris 2024

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They insist these phrases can be 'dehumanising' and 'inaccurate' when describing transgender athletes.

The body has provided alternatives for journalists to use when reporting on the Olympics this summer.

They include girl/boy, woman/man, transgender girl/boy, transgender woman/man and transgender person.

The IOC document reads: "It is always preferable to emphasise a person's actual gender rather than potentially calling their identity into question by referring to the sex category that was registered on their original birth certificate."

The IOC have sparked a backlash with their decision, however.

Inga Thompson, who is a three-time cycling Olympian, has accused the body of 'never wanting women to be in sports'.

She wrote: "The IOC has allowed themselves to be bought because deep down, they never wanted women to be in sports.

"The ultimate misogynist movement perpetuated by the IOC."

Some events have banned transgender competitors from elite women's races at the Olympics.

They include athletics, cycling, swimming, rugby and rowing.

The IOC doesn't have their own policy, instead giving individual sports the power to decide their own rules and regulations.

The first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics was Laurel Hubbard, who represented New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

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They had been worries about whether she would have an advantage over their rivals.

However, Hubbard finished last in the women's 125kg weight-lifting category.

There remain concerns, though, that transgender women who have been through male puberty have the edge over their rivals.

Swimming chiefs had to intervene and take action after Lia Thomas won gold in a women's event after previously being the 554th-ranked male in the United States.

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When it comes to Britain, culture secretary Lucy Frazer said in April that 'biology matters' - while calling on chiefs to 'protect the female category'.

She told the Daily Mail at the time: "In competitive sport, biology matters.

"And where male strength, size and body shape gives athletes an indisputable edge, this should not be ignored.

"By protecting the female category, they can keep women's competitive sport safe and fair and keep the dream alive for the young girls who dream of one day being elite sportswomen."

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