Two British athletes born male may be making history soon by competing in women’s events at next month’s Olympic Games at Rio.
The pair are however fearful that they may be ridiculed under the Olympic spotlight and would ‘probably drop back’ if they found themselves in a medal-winning position. However, if selected, the unnamed pair will become the world’s first transgender Olympians at Rio.
Their inclusion in team Great Britain will be hailed as a remarkable human rights victory – but it will also ignite controversy, with critics arguing that male-to-female competitors have an unfair biological advantage in terms of size, muscle mass and lung capacity.
Their gender status is known to the organisations governing their sports but not to rivals from other nations.
Dramatic changes have been made to the International Olympic Committee guidelines and have given hope to transgender athletes across the world.
The new rules also mean they may be able to take part in the games without having reassignment surgery. Instead, competitors born male need only declare themselves female and demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a specified point for a year.
However, the two Britons transitioned from men to women some years ago and have since ‘competed in their assigned gender’.