Tuesday, March 28, 2023

World Swimming bans transgender athletes in women’s events

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 includes proposals for 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.

“Nobody knows how this will work. And we need to involve many different people, including transgender athletes, to figure out how it will work.” Will do 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 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.

Thomas said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​last month that she was aiming 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 pose no threat to women’s sports.”

The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Thomas.

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. .


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