The participation of transgender athletes has become a political issue in Australia ©Facebook

Three sports science professors have called on nine Australian sporting bodies to change their policies regarding the participation of transgender athletes.

According to The Australian, Elizabeth Rose, Beth Hands and Helen Parker wrote to nine sports in March.

The professors reportedly presented biological evidence that athletes who had male testosterone levels during and after puberty have an athletic advantage.

The ability to develop tissue in their muscles, bones and cardiovascular systems is viewed as key to giving an advantage these competitors over female athletes.

The findings were outlined in two papers published by the professors in the International Journal of Sport and Society.

Parker told The Australian she was concerned by the lack of response from some bodies, such as Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League.

"I'm concerned that there hasn't been an acknowledgment that this information has come through," Parker told the publication.

The AFL was among the organisations urged to take action ©Getty Images
The AFL was among the organisations urged to take action ©Getty Images

"My request was that the board take on the information and discuss the issue of trans women in sport at least at board level again, and ask: 'Is our policy of transgender participation appropriate now that we have this biological information?'

"I hope that the rise of elite trans women athletes like US swimmer Lia Thomas and the UK cyclist Emily Bridges is really a wake-up call and alert sports boards to really look at what they're trying to achieve in terms of advancing girls and women in their sport.

"If they are going down this transgender inclusion role, then they really have not only dropped the ball, they've basically made a balloon out of the issue and just let it float away.

"It looks as if they're not serious in their custodianship of their code and advancing women's sport."

The participation of transgender athletes has become a hot topic in Australia after the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his support of the "Save Women’s Sport" bill before performing a U-turn.

If passed, the legislation, tabled by Liberal Senator Claire Chandler, would allow sporting organisations to ban transgender women from competing in female competitions.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Swimming Australia last month threatened legal action after an activist group used pictures of three Olympic swimming champions in a campaign against transgender athletes in women’s sport.

National governing bodies such as Cricket Australia are under pressure from both sides of the debate ©Getty Images
National governing bodies such as Cricket Australia are under pressure from both sides of the debate ©Getty Images

Images of Dawn Fraser, Emma McKeon and Emily Seebohm had featured on billboards, as the activist group Advance campaigned against Zali Steggall, who is a Member of Parliament for Warringah, following her support for transgender athletes in women’s sport.

Participation of transgender athletes in sport has been raised as a campaign issue in the build-up to the Australian federal election on May 21.

Fraser, McKeon and Seebohm had previously expressed concerns over the fairness of transgender athletes participation in women’s events.

Two-time Olympic medallist Maddie Groves disagreed with the views of the fellow swimmers as she took to social media to hit out at "transphobic" critics of transgender athletes competing in women’s sport.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has encouraged International Federations (IFs) to devise their own regulations, claiming an overarching policy would not be effective due to the differing characteristics and safety considerations each sport has to make.

The IOC's updated framework, published in November last year, said there should be "no presumption of performance advantage".

Some IFs have implemented their own rules, with World Rugby introducing regulations in 2020 which prevent transgender women from playing women's contact rugby union.

This followed a review which concluded allowing trans women to compete in women's rugby could lead to injuries due to "physiological differences."