Thursday, December 01, 2022

Canada votes in favor of world swimming body’s transgender policy

Canada voted in favor of a controversial gender policy announced this week by swimming’s world governing body.

Canada voted in favor of a controversial gender policy announced this week by swimming’s world governing body.

In a policy that went into effect Monday, FINA only allows transgender swimmers who transition from male to female before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events.

FINA is considering the establishment of an open competition category.

The Canadian swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming associations are represented at the FINA voting level by the umbrella Aquatics Canada Aquatiques.

FINA said 71.5 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the new policy.

“Canada voted in favor of FINA’s gender inclusion policy,” President Kelly Stark-Anderson told The Canadian Press in an email on Tuesday.

“The values ​​of inclusion and fairness are fundamental in international sporting competition and for us as Canadians. We believe this policy was developed thoughtfully and protects competitive fairness, particularly in women’s events at FINA competitions .

“We also support the work that FINA will take to create a new open competition category, which reflects FINA’s commitment to inclusion.”

Canadian athletes are currently competing at the biennial World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The International Olympic Committee released a framework on “fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination based on gender identity and gender variation” in November and acknowledged that gender validation testing and requiring women to modify their hormone levels was harmful.

The IOC also downloads the responsibility for setting women’s competitive criteria, and whether an athlete has an unfair advantage on the field, to international sports federations.

FINA was the first major international sporting federation to ban transgender participation after the IOC published that framework, although World Rugby banned transgender women in 2020.

“It is interesting to see that two different sports, such as rugby and swimming, adopt very similar trans exclusion policies,” said Michelle Donnelly, assistant professor at Brock University.

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“Between World Rugby and FINA, it seems the steps are backwards and really succumbing to what I would expect is a minority voice just doing real cowards.”

In addition, the International Cycling Union last week tightened rules on transgender participation by lowering the maximum allowed testosterone level to compete and extending the transition period for low testosterone levels from one year to two years.

FINA’s announcement on Sunday after the vote came just weeks after the NCAA Swimming Championships in Atlanta, where transgender woman Lia Thomas won one of her three finals.

She finished fifth and eighth in the other two and did not set an NCAA record.

“Those who don’t care about women’s sport in any way shape or form, who have taken this issue as an opportunity to advance their transphobic platform under the guise of fairness and competitive balance in women’s sport, especially It’s as disappointing as anyone. Really invested in equality in sport and gender equality,” Donnelly said.

“These are the people who say nothing when women’s sport receives between two and five percent of all sports media coverage and is less in terms of resources at each level.”

Several US states have recently legislated against trans women and girls participating in women’s and girls’ sports, Simon Fraser Professor Travers says, adding that the environment around transgender participation is now worse than it was in 2018. Wrote the book “The Trans Generation. How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution”.

“I’ve interviewed a lot of trans kids,” Travers said. “Sports participation has been a real obstacle for them. Many of them feel that it is not an option, which is a terrible thing for a child.

“Such restrictions on the participation of trans women and girls in sports send a cold and hurtful message to children and young people. It really indicates that you are a real outsider who doesn’t belong.

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“The open division being proposed by FINA is deeply problematic because it is going to stigmatize and isolate transgender women. It’s not about inclusion, it’s about exclusion.”

FINA argues that high testosterone levels in males from puberty onwards give them a competitive advantage in aquatic sport.

FINA states that gender confirming male-to-female transition processes may blunt some, but not all, effects of testosterone on body composition and muscle function “but there will be persistent inherited effects that are male-to-female.” would give transgender athletes (transgender women) a relative performance advantage over biological females.

“A biological female athlete cannot take away that advantage through training or nutrition.”

Travers don’t buy it.

“What is considered fair and unfair is a social judgment, and science just doesn’t prove that trans women have an unfair advantage,” the professor said. “The FINA ruling is not based on sound scientific evidence.”

Donnelly, who is also a roller derby athlete in the Niagara region, served on the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s board of directors when it revised the gender policy in effect from 2015.

“I would say that Roller Derby was ahead of the curve in terms of recognizing the problems with any sort of organic, physical-based policies,” she said.

“So we eventually set out a self-declaration policy that says, among other things, that if the women’s flat track roller derby is the version and structure of the roller derby with which you most closely identify, then it’s your There is a place for

“I think it’s incredibly important as an athlete to be able to spot where you’re playing and know that among your teammates as well as your opponents, that your being The right to be recognized by all.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 21, 2022.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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