“We didn’t want to be a governing body that waited for there to be a problem before we tried to fix it.” They are the words of British Triathlon CEO Andy Salmon, who declared in a press release the basics of their new transgender policy that applies as of Jan. 1, 2023. As of next year, the British national federation will divide their athletes – also Age Groupers – over two categories: an open category and a female category. In the open category men, transgenders and non-binary people will race, who were identified as male at birth. In the female category, on the other hand, only athletes who were female at birth, are allowed to race.
It’s special that British Triathlon leads the way in this case, because World Triathlon – so far – has no clear policy. Salmon explains: “We’re not aware of any elite-level transgender (tri)athletes, but we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, and we wanted to be ready for that day. That’s very much driven our thinking and the pace we’ve moved at on this topic.”
How the policy of British Triathlon will fit within the yet to be set rules of World Triathlon, remains the question. “We have a really strong relationship with World Triathlon. And we’ve been talking to them about this since last autumn. I aim for British Triathlon to continue to support World Triathlon to follow a good process, which has been really crucial in developing our policy. We hope they come up with a policy that’s very much aligned with ours.”
The new policy means that only athletes who are female at birth will be allowed to represent the British national team; even if there are no rules by World Triathlon or Europe Triathlon.