Female athletes compete at the Marathon Grand Championship, which is also the marathon test event for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on Sept. 15, 2019, in Tokyo . (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
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'it's all about making a pathway for all the trans athletes'
Megan Youngren, a biological male who transitioned to become a transgender female, will become the first openly transgender athlete to qualify for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials later this month, according to Sports Illustrated.
Youngren, who came out as transgender in 2012 and finalized her official paperwork for the transition in 2019, meets the International Olympic Committee standard of testosterone levels allowable for biological men to compete as transgender women.
USATF says that it follows the (somewhat controversial) rules set forth by the International Olympic Committee in regards to transgender qualifiers or entrants for the Olympic marathon trials. A transgender female athlete must demonstrate that her testosterone level in serum is below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before competition and must remain below that level for the period of desired eligibility to compete as a woman. The IOC has been planning to implement stricter guidelines that could lower the testosterone levels in serum to 5 nanomoles per liter.
Youngren, who has been working with the same doctor since 2013, has levels that are well below either standard, which were last measured at below 2 nmol/L when tested.
Youngren began seriously running in 2013, and pushes back against the claim that qualifying for the women's trials is easier due to being born male.
"People will try to put it down by saying, 'That's too easy because you're trans,'" Youngren said. "But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There's probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That's the story for a lot of other people, too."
The issue of whether biological males who become transgender women should be able to compete against biological women in sports is far from settled. In Connecticut, some high school girls' runners have filed a federal lawsuit to prevent transgender girls from being able to compete, citing the inherent unfairness of such an arrangement.
"Our dream is not to come in second or third place, but to win, fair and square," student Chelsea Mitchell said. "All we're asking for is a fair chance."
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