The Australian Sports Commission has published new guidelines for the participation of transgender athletes ©Getty Images

New guidelines have been issued in Australia for the participation of transgender athletes in elite female competition.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has recommended that testosterone limits be imposed by National Federations to determine the eligibility of transwomen in sport.

The non-compulsory guidelines developed by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) recommends transgender athletes register plasma testosterone levels of less than 2.5 nanomoles per litre for two years prior to competition but says this threshold can be altered depending on the physiological requirements of the sport.

According to the guidelines, sports that are "not explosive, power-based, or aerobic may consider that the appropriate range for the sport exceeds" the recommended levels.

The guidelines have been welcomed by transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey who believes that the recommended threshold is "black and white" and "removes subjectivity".

"I don’t think they could’ve done it any better," said Mouncey in a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The announcement by the AIS and the ASC comes two months after Basketball Australia ruled transgender player Lexi Rodgers cannot compete in elite women's basketball.

The debate on transgender participation in women's sport has become increasingly polarised.

Critics have argued banning athletes from the category with which they identify is discriminatory, but supporters say it safeguards fairness in women's sport.

Swimming Australia has praised the AIS and the ASC for the "work they have done to lead transgender inclusion within sport".

"Work is currently under way on the development of swimming’s community level guidelines through consultation with relevant stakeholders including the ASC, and we continue to liaise with World Aquatics on the international elite guidelines," a spokesperson from Swimming Australia said.

World Aquatics agreed in 2021 to set up the category that can give transgender athletes a chance to race on the big stage after effectively banning them from participating in women's competitions.

The International Olympic Committee has approved guidelines which grant increased flexibility to International Federations to set their own policy, with President Thomas Bach insisting there cannot be a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said that they are supported a "case-by-case approach rather than a blanket ban".

"After extensive consultation and research, the AIS has found there is no case for a blanket ban on trans athletes in any sport, even at the elite level," said Brown.

"The guidelines also encourage sporting bodies to start from a position of inclusion, and state that any restrictions must be justified on a case-by-case basis and be no more than necessary to ensure meaningful competition for everyone."

The Queer Sporting Alliance (QSA), however, has criticised the recommendations by the AIS.

"These guidelines will be used to justify exclusion of transgender women who may have lower testosterone levels compared to their cis gendered teammates," the statement from the QSA read.

"QSA agree that guidelines should exist to support peak bodies take a well-informed approach to how to support inclusion.

"These guidelines have fallen well short.

"The bar is set so low for our community that many respected LGBTIQ+ orgs will tell you today is a moment for celebration.

"It isn’t."