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Taekwon-do Coincil United Kingdom Statement Transgender Sports

Published Sep 23rd, 2023

Statement/Guidelines Regarding Transgender Athletes' participation in Combat Sports

23rd September, 2023
Taekwon-do Council United Kingdom

Statement/Guidelines Regarding Transgender Athletes' participation in Combat Sports

Commitment to Equality
1. The Taekwondo Council United Kingdom supports transgender rights & recognises the gender identity of each participant whether training in a club, school or at a competition. This commitment is a fundamental part of the inclusivity and diversity policy.
2. The Taekwondo Council United Kingdom will endeavour to set the highest standards in ensuring equality further afield, within employed roles, education, and teachings.
Ensuring Fair Competition
3. The Taekwondo Council United Kingdom is bound and pledges to ensure we continue to maintain fair competition.
A combat sports bout should occur between two fairly matched competitors competing in any designated competitive set area on a level playing field to keep matches fair, competitive, entertaining, and, most importantly, safe for all competitors as possible.
4. Combat sports such as Taekwon-do, however spelt, are unique since every punch thrown at the head is thrown with the intention of winning by contact points, whether full contact or semi-contact (full contact knock-out amounts to a concussive head injury, but semi-contact has the same opportunity for accidents to happen to the same effect).
5. Accordingly, these sports carry an exceedingly high risk for both acute and chronic neurological injuries. Individuals in combative sports have died during a bout or in the immediate aftermath due to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as an acute subdural hematoma (SDH), epidural hematoma (EDH), subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), intracranial hematoma and injury to the great vessels of the neck such as carotid or vertebral artery dissection.
6. There is no consensus on whether a bout between a transgender woman and a cisgender (biological) woman is fair to all competitors. Metrics such as a testosterone level of less than 10 nanomoles per litre (achieved by using testosterone suppression medication in the transgender woman) in isolation are inadequate to ensure fairness at the time of the bout. It is possible that when a transgender woman combatant launches her competitive career, she has already been through male puberty, thus developing a male's musculature and bone structure and conferring on a transgender woman combatant an unfair advantage over her cisgender woman opponent.
7. According to current scientific knowledge, the Taekwondo Council United Kingdom and other competitive arts consensus is that allowing transgender athletes to compete in a category other than their birth sex raises serious health and safety concerns.
To help ensure the safety of all participants in Taekwon-do, we must ask that every participant declares their birth sex upon registration as a member and on entry to competitions; this will also help to maintain complete transparency and helps prevent any fraudulent issues rendered by insurers and the UK Law itself.
8. The Taekwon-do Council United Kingdom will continue research with professionals in healthcare and stay in touch with scientific evaluations as they appear and are updated to be best informed and guided for fairness and equality in the sport.

As a National Governing Body (Council) for TKD, you can find policy guidance here within UK Sport documents:


Equality Act 2010
Fraud Act 2006
Moving forward we will be looking to include Transgender categories as and where the applicant numbers deem the category to be created and in a safe manner.
Future categories, as current guidance allows alongside the science, would allow:
Transgender Males to compete with transgender Males.
Transgender Females to compete with transgender Females.
The above statement has been focussed on the Taekwon-do equality policy while both supports and utilises a well-defined statement made by the World Boxing Council written by Nitin K Sethi, MD, MBBS, FAAN.
The above statement is made on behalf of the Taekwondo Council United Kingdom by

Master J McNally
7th Degree
ITC – TCUK Founder

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