Runners can pick their own gender to race with during next week’s Boston Marathon, according to officials.
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”
“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,” Grilk added.
The decision to allow transgender people to compete in whichever gender category they identify with is controversial largely because it’s easier to qualify for the hyper-competitive race as a woman. In every age bracket, women can qualify for the Boston Marathon by running a time that’s 30 minutes slower than men.
At least five transgender women—that is, biological men who identify as women—have signed up to run in the Boston Marathon, as women.