Under the Equality Act 2010, Trans people cannot be directly or indirectly discriminated against, nor can they be harassed. The law covers transgender people in different ways. The small number of transsexual people who, by definition, have the ‘protected characteristic’ of ‘gender reassignment’, are specifically protected, by the Equality Act 2010, from discrimination, harassment and victimisation, in employment and in the provision of goods, facilities and services, from the time that they disclose their intention to change their role.
However, equality law does also protect individuals in the wider transgender community, if they are discriminated against or harassed on the grounds that they are ‘perceived’ to be transsexual, as well as those who are ‘associated’ with a transsexual person, such as partners, family members or carers. The Act is, therefore, relevant to transgender employees, club members, volunteers and spectators who are, or who may be perceived to be transsexual and could, potentially, be subjected to transphobic behaviour.
The Gender Recognition Act (2004) provides transsexual people with legal recognition in their acquired gender, subject to some specified exceptions. A minority of the people who have undergone permanent transition of their gender role, obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act, 2004 (GRA). In order to obtain a GRC it is not necessary to have had genital or other surgeries. Those whose births were registered in the UK, automatically receive a new birth certificate. The GRA provides enhanced privacy protection with regard to sensitive information about their gender status, from the time of application to the Gender Recognition Panel (GRP). In these circumstances, breach of privacy by any club official could amount to a criminal offence. The GRC confers on transsexual people their post-transition gender status ‘for all purposes’. It may be considered to be harassment, to ask if a person has a GRC, so it is advisable to extend the same level of protection and privacy to all those who have changed their gender role on a permanent basis.
The privacy of the wider group of transgender people, as well as transsexual people, is also protected under the Data Protection Act 1998, which means that any processing of their data should seek to avoid causing any damage or distress.
This guidance uses a number of terms associated with transgender people, see definitions below:
Assigned Sex: The sex, male or female, assigned at birth based on physical characteristics
Gender-affected sport: Taekwondo is ‘gender-affected’, and means that the average woman will always be at a disadvantage when competing against men.
Gender Dysphoria or gender identify disorder: A condition where someone experiences discomfort or distress because of a mismatch between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth. Signs can appear at a very young age e.g. a child refusing to wear typical clothes of their gender or taking part in non-typical games – this occasionally passes but usually continues to adulthood. The onset of puberty may increase the risk of self-harm, addiction or suicide.
Gender identity or affirmed gender: The gender to which a person identifies or has transitioned or is transitioning, and which is opposed to that which was assigned at birth. Every person has a right to be able to express their gender in a way that is comfortable to them. Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
Gender Reassignment: A term used for a person proposing to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone, a process or part of a process for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. (Gender Reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010
Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC): Trans people whose birth was registered in the UK can apply to the Gender Recognition Panel to have their acquired/affirmed gender recorded on their birth certificate. If accepted, the applicant receives a GRC which permits the holder to be recognised for all legal purposes, Inc. marriage, in their acquired gender.
Intersex: A condition where a child at birth doesn’t clearly appear male or female. Parents may be recommended to wait until the child can choose their own gender identity before any surgery is carried out.
Non-binary/ genderqueer/ gender fluid: Someone who defines their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman; for example, those who are both man and woman, or neither man nor woman, or moving between genders.
Non-gendered: A person who doesn’t identify with either male or female gender
Real-Life Experience/ living in full-time gender: The Real-Life Experience (RLE), is a period of time in which transgender people live fulltime in their preferred gender role. The purpose is to confirm that a transgender person can function successfully as a member of the opposite gender in society, and confirms that they are sure they want to live as that gender for the rest of their life.
Trans: The umbrella term for any person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth, and all cross over identities that challenge the socially constructed border between the genders. This includes androgyne, polygender, cross-dressing and transvestite people.
Transgender Woman or girl: A person assigned male at birth who identifies with the female gender, but has not necessarily transitioned.
Transgender Man or boy: A person assigned female at birth but identifies with the male gender, but has not necessarily transitioned.
Transition: Someone who is taking or has taken the 4-5-year complex medical process of changing their birth sex and their legal documentation to become the opposite sex.
Transphobia: Discriminatory, abusive or negative language or behaviour directed towards a transgender person, and may include refusal to provide access to services equal to nontrans people. It is as unacceptable as racism, sexism or homophobia.
Transsexual: A person who proposes, or undergoes, to realign their gender and sex through use of medical intervention.
British Student Taekwondo Federation welcomes all participants equally, accepting anyone joining in the gender they identify with, whether or not transition is taking/has taken place, and addressing that person accordingly.
Trans women will be able to participate in training sessions, work through the grading systems, become officials, coaches and volunteer at British Student Taekwondo Federation events, although they may not be eligible to enter competitions* (see notes below under Domestic Competition).
Trans men may do all of the above and compete in the affirmed gender in the appropriate age/weight category. It is still a requirement to disclose they are trans males to ensure appropriate competition safeguards are followed.
Everyone has a right to choose the facilities that they’re comfortable with. All toilet facilities have cubicles, and unisex toilets are becoming more usual in public venues which helps to retain privacy and dignity for everyone. Facility use is a matter for facility providers to provide guidance on and in accordance with UK law.
It is illegal under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 for a person who has acquired transgender information in an official capacity to disclose personal information about that person’s gender history if he/she has applied for a gender recognition certificate or been granted one, except with his/her permission or in other very limited circumstances. Any information relating to a transsexual person’s former gender (regardless of whether or not they have a Gender Recognition Certificate) is also likely to be classed as sensitive personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 and GDPR 2018.
British Student Taekwondo Federation adopts a zero-tolerance approach to transphobia and ensures that any unacceptable behaviour and language is challenged appropriately and sanctions and /or educational programmes implemented to ensure the creation of a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for trans people.
Types of discrimination include:
- discriminatory language or behaviour directed towards anyone who comes under the umbrella term of trans,
- discrimination towards a transgender person’s friend or supporter,
- anyone that may be perceived to be a transgender person (whether they are transgender or not),
- a reluctance or refusal to provide access to services to the same extent as that provided for a nontransgender person.
Transphobic behaviour should be reported to the charity’s board.
Taekwondo is a ‘gender-affected’ sport which is defined as one where ‘the physical strength, stamina or physique of average persons of one gender would put them at a disadvantage to average persons of the other gender as competitors in events involving the sport’. (Gender Recognition Act 2004).
The overriding sporting objective is the guarantee of fair and safe competition. British Student Taekwondo Federation activities and events do not restrict the participation of a transgender person in competitive sport unless this is strictly necessary to uphold fair or safe competition; any other restriction may amount to direct discrimination. It is the responsibility and a requirement of a transgender person to declare their status to allow British Student Taekwondo Federation to uphold fair play objective.
Trans women, whether or not they have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), can participate, attend training session, grade and become officials, coaches and volunteer at your club; however, when it comes to competition, clubs should work in accordance with the Equality Act, which states:
- 5.5.2 “The Act allows transsexual competitors to be prohibited from competing where the physical strength, stamina or physique of average persons of one sex would put them at a disadvantage compared to average persons of the other sex and where such a prohibition is necessary for fair competition or the safety of competitors.”
Each application to compete will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Any transgender male (female to male transgender person) may compete in his affirmed gender in the appropriate weight and/or age category, subject to an individual assessment being made.
Any transgender woman over 16 and post puberty (male to female transgender person) may either compete in her affirmed gender by providing evidence that her hormone therapy has brought her bloodmeasured testosterone levels within the range of her affirmed gender. British Student Taekwondo Federation adopts the ruling of the International Olympic Committee and requires the athlete’s total testosterone level in serum to remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category. The athlete is responsible for the provision and cost of any test.
Full IOC definition states:
- Athletes would also be required to demonstrate that their total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months prior to their first competition – with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition.
- OR, she may compete in any male competition if she has not started hormone treatment
It is important to note that these regulations are only applicable to domestic competitions organised through British Student Taekwondo Federation and would not be transferable to the International Competition arena until appropriate rules and regulations have been put in place.
Spectators may be transgender and may be subjected to transphobic comments from others around them. Transphobic language and behaviour can be reported directly to club safeguarding officers or officials. In the same way that racist or homophobic language and behaviour is challenged it is vital that coaches and club staff respond to transphobic language whenever it happens and take all reasonable steps to resolve the situation safely and effectively.
Spectators may also direct transphobic comments at players. This is not always because a player is known to be trans, but simply as a term of abuse, in the same way that ‘gay’ may be used as a derogatory term, even if there are no gay people present. Whenever phobic language is used it creates a hostile environment and must be addressed.
Complaints regarding transphobic behaviour should be reported to the charity’s board
British Student Taekwondo Federation will not discriminate against trans people in any aspect of their employment and will endeavour to ensure that the culture of the workplace is supportive and welcoming throughout any transitioning process or as a transgender person.
British Student Taekwondo Federation will work to meet the individual needs of each person to ensure that they have a positive experience of their employment
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE STATEMENT NOVEMBER 2015 (to be reviewed post Tokyo 2021)
A. Since the 2003 Stockholm Consensus on Sex Reassignment in Sports, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of autonomy of gender identity in society, as reflected in the laws of many jurisdictions worldwide.
B. There are also, however, jurisdictions where autonomy of gender identity is not recognised in law at all.
C. It is necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition.
D. The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. Restrictions on participation are appropriate to the extent that they are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of that objective.
E. To require surgical anatomical changes as a pre-condition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.
F. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to undermine in any way the requirement to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and the WADA International Standards.
G. These guidelines are a living document and will be subject to review in light of any scientific or medical developments.
In this spirit, the IOC Consensus Meeting agreed the following guidelines to be taken into account by sports organisations when determining eligibility to compete in male and female competition:
1. Those who transition from female to male are eligible to compete in the male category without restriction. 2. Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
2.1. The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
2.2. The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
2.3. The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
2.4. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.
Hyperandrogenism in female athletes
In response to the interim award dated 24 July 2015 in Chand v AFI and IAAF CAS 2014/A/3759, the IOC Consensus Meeting recommended:
1. Rules should be in place for the protection of women in sport and the promotion of the principles of fair competition.
2. The IAAF, with support from other International Federations, National Olympic Committees and other sports organisations, is encouraged to revert to CAS with arguments and evidence to support the reinstatement of its hyperandrogenism rules.
To avoid discrimination, if not eligible for female competition the athlete should be eligible to compete in male competition.