The vast majority of athletes are expected to compete as a member of the gender assigned at the time of birth on their birth certificate. The goal of these USA Volleyball (USAV) Gender Competition Guidelines is to permit athletes to compete in the gender with which they identify, while maintaining competitive equity.
The athlete’s gender selection is made at the time of USAV membership purchase, and it is captured in the member’s Profile as well as in the USAV Verified/Membership information section. The available gender options are male, female, and non-binary.
While the athlete/USAV member can change their Profile gender at any time, only USAV and Region administrators can change the USAV Verified/Membership gender. The USAV Verified/Membership gender is considered the competition gender, although it does not mean that the athlete’s/USAV member’s gender has officially been verified.
If an athlete/USAV member identifies as and selects “non-binary” as their Profile gender, and the athlete/USAV member is participating in a competition that only offers competition categories of male or female, the Region or USAV must work with the athlete to determine their competition gender and update the USAV Verified/Membership gender to male or female. The athlete/USAV member will be unable to roster for events until the USAV Verified/Membership gender is selected. The USAV Verified/Membership gender will remain the determined gender for the remainder of the volleyball season. Athletes/USAV members are not permitted to change genders within a single season once the USAV Verified/Membership declaration has been made.
The USAV Member Services team provides a list of those who select “non-binary” as their gender to the USAV Legal department for purposes of documentation.
Note: Families of athletes seeking to participate outside of their gender assigned at birth should:
(1) Reach out to their Region office for information about their Region’s policy for participation.
(2) Submit required documentation through the USAV Gender Committee (“GC”) (see below) if
approved in their Region and seeking to participate in national level events.
Note: The below process does not apply to any competition or event where the International Olympic Committee’s policy on transgender may apply, or to an international competition involving the USA National Teams. This may include, without limitation: (i) USA Volleyball National Team competitions or events, and (ii) competitions or events operated or sanctioned by FIVB, the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee or World Para Volley, whether involving beach, indoor or sitting disciplines.
Athletes who wish to compete as a member of the gender opposite that assigned at birth must notify USAV of their intent at least six weeks prior to the competition in which they wish to participate. Sufficient documentation must be provided to permit the GC to determine that the applicant has taken the necessary steps to transition to their adopted gender.
All TG athletes must submit: 1) a statement that they wish to compete in the gender opposite that of their birth. Minors: parents or guardians must submit a similar statement; 2) statement from the treating physician and medical records as indicated; and, 3) lab reports of testosterone levels for athletes over age 13 as noted below. The GC may share relevant information with medical experts, as necessary. Once the GC has all required documentation, review will be completed within 30 days.
Androgenic hormones may possibly provide TG athletes with an unfair competitive advantage, so the GC may require TG athletes to provide documentation of appropriately managed therapy at the time of initial application to compete. After approval to compete as a member of their adopted gender, documentation must be re-submitted and approved prior to the start of each season. The GC will serve as the point of contact for all inquiries regarding these participants. The expense of any required testing will be the responsibility of the athlete.
Transgender athletes must request permission to participate by submitting a request to the Chair
of the Gender Commission (GC). Requests should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current transgender testing requirements are as follows:
Assigned Female at Birth to Male, all age groups (prepubertal, pubertal, and adult)
All athletes must submit appropriate documentation upon request. Testosterone levels must not exceed the upper limit of the normal male reference range for their age group.
Assigned Male at Birth to Female:
All athletes must submit appropriate documentation upon request. Testosterone levels must not exceed the upper limit of the normal female reference range for their age group.
Age 12 and Under (Prepubertal or Youth)
No restriction if seeking to play on a female team.
Age 13-18 (registered as a Junior, including a 19-year-old still in high school) (Pubertal or Adolescent)
Testosterone levels must be within normal female reference range (for the age range) for a minimum of 6 months preceding the application to participate.
Age 18 and Over (registered as an Adult)
Testosterone levels must be less than 10 nmol/L for a minimum of 1 year prior to the application to participate.
All GC decisions are effective for one season and must be reevaluated with appropriate documentation prior to participation in each USAV season.