Transgender participation in sports has become a controversial topic, particularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Unlike other sports that actively test for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), only one BJJ competition currently conducts such testing. Policing competitors’ testosterone levels in BJJ is challenging due to the sport’s unique nature of having individuals of different genders training together, which reveals differences in strength and strategy.
Men generally possess greater strength, bone density, and cardiovascular endurance compared to women. However, women who practice BJJ develop their own unique attributes that make them formidable opponents, such as above-average flexibility, distinct strategic approaches, and specific situational advantages.
Recently, a transgender athlete made headlines by competing in the women’s division of a BJJ tournament. Ultimately, this individual was defeated by a teen female opponent.
Sasha Reynolds, a teen female orange belt, moved up to the adult division and fough a transgender athlete for the first time . This was a five minute Jiu Jitsu Match at the Fuji BJJ Championship Series.
Although neither competitor displayed elite-level skills, this situation raises important questions about the impact of biological differences and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on athletic capabilities.
Further research is advocated to gain a comprehensive understanding of how HRT affects transgender athletes and their performance, considering factors like the menstrual cycle and concerns related to bone density that can influence female athletes’ abilities.