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College sports in Canada open the door wider for trans athletes

Trans women don’t need hormone therapy before competing in Canada’s women’s U Sports.

15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 - Day Two Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Transgender athletes got a big win in Canada with the creating of a new national university policy opening the door for trans student-athletes to compete as their gender.

According to U Sports, which is akin to the Canadian version of the NCAA, trans women do not have undergo any kind of gender-reassignment surgery or hormonal therapy before being eligible to compete in women’s sports.

“In accordance with the CCES guidance report,” the organization’s press release said, “U SPORTS’ approved policy does not require student-athletes to undertake hormone therapy in order for them to compete in the gender category that is consistent with their gender identity.”

David Goldstein, the COO of U Sports, said the decision was made because they don’t believe hormone therapy impacts performance anyway, as he told the National Post. That flies in the face of everything we have heard about hormone therapy for trans female athletes and, frankly, defies logic.

Transgender athletes wishing to compete will still need to comply with the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. This particularly affects trans men, who often take testosterone as part of their therapy. While a trans man wouldn’t have to take testosterone to compete in a men’s category, they would be subject to testing if they chose to.

Various states have high school policies that are similar to U Sports’ new policy in Canada. Connecticut, for example, has seen two trans girls win state titles in high school, one of them winning a New England regional championship, prompting some criticism about the policy and a petition to ban the athletes. Of course there are other trans girls who don’t win state titles.