HUNGARIAN capital, BUDAPEST — Transgender women can no longer compete in women’s competitions, according to the organization that governs swimming worldwide.
On Sunday, FINA members overwhelmingly approved a new “gender inclusivity policy” that restricts swimmers who have undergone gender change to those who did so before the age of 12. Additionally, the group suggested an “open competition category.”
This is not a recommendation that people transition by the age of 12. According to science, if you transition after the onset of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair, James Pearce, the FINA president’s spokesperson, told The Associated Press.
They’re not advocating that everyone transitions by age 11, which is absurd. Most nations do not allow people to transition by that age, and ideally, you wouldn’t be encouraged to do so. They basically contend that it is impossible for persons who have undergone a transition to compete fairly.
According to Pearce About Transgender Women
There aren’t any transgender women swimming at the highest levels right now. Lia Thomas, a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, would appear to be disqualified from the top competition by the decision. The minimum age for beginning hormone therapy for gender change has recently been lowered by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health to 14, and some surgeries now need patients to be 15 or 17.
Additionally, a brand-new “open competition” category was suggested in FINA’s new 24-page policy. The group announced its formation, saying it will “create a new working group that would spend the next six months researching the most efficient means to set up this new category.”
The open competition, according to Pearce, would almost certainly result in more tournaments, but the specifics have yet to be determined. “No one is entirely certain of how this will operate. And to figure out how it would function, we need to consult a wide range of people, including transgender athletes, he added. There are no specifics about how that would operate, therefore. Tomorrow, the open category will be the subject of discussion.
After hearing from three expert groups that had been collaborating to create the policy in response to recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee last November, the members of the organization’s extraordinary general congress voted 71.5 percent in favor. These groups included an athlete group, a group for science and medicine, and a group for law and human rights.
The IOC advocated shifting the focus away from personal testosterone levels and requesting proof where a performance advantage was present.
The new FINA policy is “deeply discriminatory, harmful, and unscientific”
According to Anne Lieberman of Athlete Ally, a group that supports LGBTQ athletes. It is also “not in line with (the IOC’s) framework on fairness, inclusion, and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations,” she added.
“The eligibility criteria for the women’s category as it is spelled out in the policy (will) police the bodies of all women, and it will not be enforceable without substantially breaching the privacy and human rights of any athlete wishing to compete in the women’s category,” Lieberman said.
What does The International Swimming Federation (FINA) state?
FINA understands “that some individuals and groups may feel uncomfortable with the use of medical and scientific terminology related to sex and sex-linked traits (but) some use of sensitive terminology is needed to be precise about the sex characteristics that justify separate competition categories.”
Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle NCAA swimming championship in March, becoming the nation’s first transgender woman to do it.
Thomas stated her desire to compete in the Olympics on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last month. In addition, she refuted claims that she had an unfair biological advantage that compromises the integrity of women’s sports, asserting that “trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”
Thomas sent a comment request to the University of Pennsylvania, but they didn’t react right away. Athletes who identify as transgender has been the subject of rule reviews in other sports.
Transgender athletes will now have to wait longer to compete after cycling’s governing body changed its qualifying requirements on Thursday with harsher requirements.
The maximum acceptable level of testosterone was lowered, and the transition time for low testosterone was extended to two years by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The previous transition period was 12 months, but the UCI claimed that recent research shows that for athletes who transition from male to female “the required adjustments in muscle mass and muscle strength/power” take at least two years.
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