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We believe that USA Climbing’s recently updated Transgender Athlete Participation Policy is transphobic and will cause harm to the sport and so many people we love. We believe that the new policy is antithetical to USA Climbing’s stated belief that “every athlete should be allowed to compete in a respectful, safe, and harassment-free environment.”

The new policy places an undue financial and emotional burden on trans athletes by requiring them to “prove” their gender identity.

One need only look at the ordeal of Caster Semenya and the horrific examinations and tests she endured to see what would happen to athletes as young as 12 years old in USA Climbing events if they have to “prove” their worthiness for inclusion in a specific gender category. 

It is time to reframe our thinking about gender and consider the dignity and rights and equal protections for all athletes in climbing regardless of their gender identity.

We also firmly agree with and want to amplify:

@climbcrux: “[The Policy] also invalidates diverse trans identities by asserting there is a specific, expensive, time-intensive, emotionally taxing path a person must follow to be “recognized” by USA Climbing as “legitimately” transgender.”

@catlikeacat explains – “As of today, 22 states have passed legislation banning access to the gender-affirming healthcare. If the trans athlete lives in one of these states, they legally cannot access the medical care needed to maintain eligibility. But more importantly, this policy specifically involves minors’ bodies, healthcare, and decisions that should only be left up to the minor themselves, their family, and their medical provider.”

We call on USA Climbing to repeal the new policy. Then, and only then, can USA Climbing get back on the path of living their stated goal of creating and maintaining a respectful, safe, and harassment-free environment.

We request the following:

  • Review the USA Climbing Transgender Athlete Participation Policy, published on September 26, 2023, and make immediate revisions to remove restrictions for youth;
  • Directly involve transgender, nonbinary, and intersex athletes, their families and coaches, and subject matter experts in the policy-making process;
  • Suspend the new eligibility requirements during the interim and revision period to allow transgender, nonbinary, and intersex athletes the ability to participate.

We call on our entire community to stand up against this new policy. 

Are you with us?


Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition, Ragged Mtn Foundation, & CragtVT

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