Transgender female swimmers banned from top women’s race: FINA

Advocates for allowing transgender women to compete in sports against biological women received a major setback on Sunday, at least in the world of elite swimming. FINA, the sport’s world governing body, announced that transgender women would not be allowed in the leading women’s race, effective Monday.

FINA is known as the International Swimming Federation which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. FINA said it is working to create an “open” category for some events for transgenders who wish to compete.

The new policy does not completely disqualify transgender women from participating in women’s sports. This would require any changes to be completed by the age of 12 in order to compete in the women’s events, but this was not the way for FINA to say that children must become transgender before they become teenagers.

“It’s not saying people are encouraged to transition by age 12. That’s what scientists are saying, that if you transition after the onset of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair. , FINA spokesman James Pierce said. The Associated Press. “They’re not saying that everyone should transition by age 11; that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition until that age in most countries, and hopefully you won’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is it’s not possible for people who have transitioned to compete for no profit.”

Transgender athletes competing in women’s swimming hit a high mark this spring when Penn swimmer Leah Thomas became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I title in any event. Thomas, who won the 500-yard freestyle, said she wants to compete in the 2024 US Olympic Trials. Thomas’s final spring 500 of 4:33.24 is far from the NCAA record set by Katie Ledecky (4:24.06) at the 2017 Championships, and it’s highly unlikely that Thomas will catch Ledecky in any races during the current Olympic quad.

Transgender woman Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania talks to a reporter after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

FINA’s new rule will not allow Thomas to compete against Ledecky or any other top athlete in the elite women’s race. This probably would have prevented Thomas from swimming at the NCAAs last March.

Controversy has also erupted from those supporting Thomas and other athletes like him.

Athlete Alley is a group that supports the efforts of LGBTQ+ athletes. Anne Lieberman, who is part of that nonprofit, said any enforcement of the new FINA rule would violate the “privacy and human rights” of each athlete.

“Eligibility criteria for women category as prescribed in the policy [will] “It will not be enforced without a serious violation of the privacy and human rights of all women’s body police, and any athlete seeking to compete in the women’s category,” Lieberman said in a statement.

Pearce, who is a direct spokesman for FINA President Hussein al-Musallam, said the inclusion of an “open” category would create more events around an already overcrowded agenda. He said the swimming body would start discussing the options from Monday.

“Nobody knows how this will work. And we need to involve a lot of different people, including transgender athletes, to figure out how it will work. So there’s no description of how it’s going to work.” … open range is something that will be discussed tomorrow,” Pierce told the AP.

FINA’s new policy was voted on by 152 of its members on Sunday, with 71 percent. Part of the discussion developed around the age of 12, in which a transformation was completed.

“Where did that 12 come from?” said Dr. Alireza Hamidian Jahromi, co-director of the Gender Affirmation Surgery Center at Temple University Hospitals. “Is this a specific age that everyone should go through puberty, because it is so Not possible.”

Hamidian Jahromi noted that the age of puberty varies, and there is more to it, as there are three different transitions involved: social, surgical and medical—which involve hormones.

FINA recognizes that everyone can be different.

“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 the different competing categories,” the federation said.

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