Transgender women have effectively been banned from competing in women’s events by the International Swimming Federation (FINA, Fédération Internationale de Natation), starting Monday.
Under the new “gender inclusion policy,” only swimmers who transitioned before the age of 12 will be allowed to compete in women’s events. The new policies were approved by 71.5% of FINA members.
A new category for “open competition” was also proposed. The association said it would form a working group to look at the best way to set it up over the next six months.
“We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.
FINA will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so FINA will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process.”FINA president Husain Al-Musallam
FINA’s 24-page policy explains how they’ll determine if transgender athletes qualify to compete in certain sport events. In the future, transgender athletes who do not meet eligibility standards may participate in any “open events” that the organization may develop.
A number of other sports have also begun to examine their rules regarding transgender athletes, including cycling’s governing body.Embed from Getty Images
In March, Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman in the United States to win an NCAA swimming championship, winning the 500-yard freestyle.