Transgender runners who qualify can take part in the Boston Marathon under their identified gender, according to Boston Marathon Officials.
The issue has garnered attention following a profile in Runners Magazine of three transgender females signed up for the race.
Comments to the article included reservation from readers that the elevated testosterone levels would potentially bump other women from the race, who would otherwise have qualified.
Though there is no explicit policy on transgender runners, according to the Boston Athletic Association, the organizers behind the marathon, runners have been asked for “several years” to compete in the marathon with the same gender identity which they qualified. In a statement to NPR, the association says:
“We don’t require that runners outline their gender identity history with us, so we can’t say for certain how many trans runners are in our race. We do know that we have had several transgender runners in the past.”
Still, the thought of registering for a competition under her identified gender is what inspired and pushed Amelia Gapin to undergo surgery, she tells Women’s Running. Gapin is a software engineer, transgender activist, and one of the three women profiled, who qualifies for the Boston Marathon. She says that post surgery recovery time made her reluctant to undergo gender re-assignment, but the thought of achieving one of her biggest goals - running in the Boston Marathon pushed her to surgery.
At the levels of elite competition, registering under identified gender has been more of an issue for male to female transgender athletes. The Olympics revisited its guidelines ahead of the 2016 Rio Games allowing athletes to participate without the gender reassignment surgery, but requiring female transgender registrants to prove their testosterone levels did not exceed a certain amount.
New York and Chicago Marathons have also said that runners can participate under their qualifying gender. In the case of Boston, registrants are required to show a government-issued ID to get a big number. The BAA says, “We do compare the ID with the person’s qualification-associated gender description.”
The organization has not responded to how they would handle bib distribution for transgender people whose IDs show a different gender.
The Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 16.