LGBTQ advocates are speaking out against swimming’s worldwide governing body FINA, which bans most transgender women from competing in major women’s races.
The International Swimming Federation announced the rule on Sunday, along with plans to create an “open” category for transgender women who want to compete. This policy allows transgender women who have transitioned before the age of 12 to compete in the women’s race.
FINA defended the decision, noting that “some individuals and groups may be uncomfortable with the use of medical and scientific terminology relating to sex and symptoms associated with sex. [but] To be precise about sexual characteristics requires some use of sensitive terminology that justifies separate competing categories.”
Transgender athletes competing in the women’s swim race became a hotly debated topic this spring, as University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I title in any event.
Her victory sparked a high-profile debate about whether or not transgender women have an unfair advantage over cisgender women in the sport, with critics pointing out that Thomas would not have seen the same level of success competing on the men’s team. , even the transgender community argues that forcing trans women to swim in a men’s race would be invalid.
FINA’s rule change, which went into effect on Monday, was met with mixed comments. While some athletes, including former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman, praised the decision, there was an influx of criticism from those who believe that transgender women should be allowed to compete on women’s sports teams. This decision has also come because some people have intensified anti-transgender rhetoric and attacks on transgender rights.
Olympian Chris Mosier, a transgender man and founder of the advocacy group Transathlete, wrote in a tweet That all women would “suffer” from the decision.
“FINA’s new policy does not follow the IOC framework; not only is FINA’s policy discriminatory, but it will encourage and allow the policing of all-female bodies in swimming,” they wrote. “The only way this policy would be enforced would be to violate the rights and privacy of all female swimmers.”
“Banning swimmers who are trans is discrimination. No research has been done on elite athletes. FINA made this decision because of a false hate campaign directed at Thomas by the trans-trans lobby. His career was ruined. This decision has been made,” said Jackie Turner, a transgender rights activist and Equality Australia campaigner, tweeted,
Charlotte Clymer, a transgender woman, author and activist, told FINA. accused of in a tweet “Bending to political pressure bought in by destructive anti-trans propaganda.”
“No young trans woman can meet this criterion without access to appropriate health care, which is banned in many places. Ridiculous,” she said.
queer eye Star Jonathan Van Ness tweeted: “Another reason why these anti-trans laws that reaffirm the care of minors. All these laws and regulations seeking to banish trans people and it will not work.”
Athlete Alley, an organization that supports LGBTQ athletes, said FINA’s decision was contrary to the 2021 International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines.
The organization tweeted, “FINA’s new eligibility criteria for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex differences is discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with 2021 IOC principles. If we really want to protect women’s sport, we must All women should be included.”