Saturday, July 2, 2022

World Swimming bans transgender athletes in women’s events




Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press



Published Sunday, June 19, 2022 2:03 PM EDT





Last updated on Sunday, June 19, 2022 8:01 PM EDT

BUDAPEST, Hungary ( Associated Press) – World swimming’s governing body has banned transgender women from competing in women’s events starting Monday.

FINA members widely adopted a new “gender inclusion policy” on Sunday that allows only swimmers who made the transition before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events. The organization also proposed an “open competition category”.

“It’s not saying that people are encouraged to transition by age 12. The scientists are saying that if you transition after the onset of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair, James Pierce, who is the spokesman for FINA President Hussein al-Musallam, told The Associated Press.

“They’re not saying that everyone should transition by age 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition to that age in most countries and hopefully you’re not encouraged to. Basically From what they are saying, it is not possible for those who have made the transition to compete without any benefit.”

Pierce confirmed that there are currently no transgender women competing in the elite levels of swimming.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has lowered its recommended minimum age to start gender transition hormone treatment to 14 and some surgeries to 15 or 17.

FINA’s new 24-page policy also proposed a new “open competition” category. The organization said it is “setting up a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to establish this new category.”

Pearce told the Associated Press that open competition will mean more events, but those details still need to be worked out.

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“Nobody knows how it will work. And we need to involve a lot of different people, including transgender athletes, to figure out how it will work,” he said. that how it would work. The open category is something that will be discussed tomorrow.

Members voted 71.5% in favor of the organization’s Extraordinary Ordinary Congress after hearing presentations from three expert groups – an athlete group, a science and medical group and a legal and human rights group – that followed the recommendations to make policy. were working together. by the International Olympic Committee last November.

The IOC urged attention away from individual testosterone levels and sought evidence to prove when a performance advantage existed.

FINA’s “deeply discriminatory, harmful, unscientific” new policy “does not conform to the (IOC’s) framework on fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination based on gender identity and gender diversities,” said Anne Lieberman of Athlete Alley, a non-profit The organization advocates for LGBTQ athletes said in a statement.

“The eligibility criteria for the women’s category as stipulated in the policy shall (will) police the bodies of all women, and shall not apply without seriously infringing on the privacy and human rights of any athlete wishing to compete in the women’s category.” Will be done,” Lieberman said.

FINA stated that it recognizes 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) there is a need for some use of sensitive terminology that justifies separate competition.” Be precise about sexual characteristics. Categories.”

In March, Lia Thomas made history in the United States as the first transgender woman to win the NCAA Swimming Championships, the 500-yard freestyle.

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Thomas told ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​last month that his goal is to become an Olympic swimmer. She also disputed those who say she has an unfair biological edge that ruins the integrity of women’s athletics, saying that “trans women are not a threat to the women’s sport.”

Thomas did not immediately respond to a message from the University of Pennsylvania seeking comment.

Alireza Hamidian Jahromi, co-director of the Gender Affirmation Surgery Center at Temple University Hospitals in Philadelphia, said 12 is an arbitrary age.

“Where did that 12 come from?” They said. “Is this a specific age that everyone should go through puberty, because it can’t happen.”

He said that the age of puberty is different for different people.

Hamidian Jahromi said the transition involves three phases: social, medical involving hormones, and surgical. “What do they mean by these three? Should the patient have surgery by that time, which is almost impossible.

Other sports are also scrutinizing their rules around transgender athletes.

On Thursday, cycling’s governing body updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes with stricter limits that would force riders to wait longer before competing.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) extended the transition period on low testosterone to two years, and lowered the maximum accepted level of testosterone. The previous transition period was 12 months but the UCI said that recent scientific studies show that it takes at least two years for “the anticipated adaptation in muscle mass and muscle strength/strength” among athletes transitioning from male to female. .

Associated Press journalist Jennifer Cinco Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.

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