International Federation Restricts Women’s Gender Engagement in Swimming | swimming

The International Swimming Federation (Fina) has announced a new policy banning international women’s participation in the sport. The law, which came into force on Monday, barred transgender men who had gone through adolescence from international competitions, meaning only transgender women who had completed their transition by age 12 could compete.

+ The International Swimming Federation aims to create an “open type” for transgender athletes

Lia Thomas swimming – Photo: Rich von Biberstein / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fina argues that the age limit for completing a gender transition is important to ensure that women with the ability to change gender have an advantage in men’s adolescence, although the institution acknowledges that in many countries it is not allowed to make such changes early. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 14 years as the minimum age for this transition process.

– This does not mean that people are encouraged to move at the age of 12. This is what scientists say, that if the post-adolescent changes begin, you have a benefit, which is not fair. They do not say that everyone should change by age 11; this is ridiculous. You cannot move to this age in most countries, and I hope you are not encouraged to do so. Basically, what they are saying is that it is not appropriate for people who have gone through a rough race without edge, “James Pearce, a spokesman for FINA chairman Husain Al-Musallam, told the AP news agency.

Practically, Fina’s new law prohibits all women from competing in major swimming competitions, including the Olympics. The policy change is mainly aimed at American Lia Thomas, a trans-swimmer who participates in university competitions and who had plans to try for a place at the Paris Olympic Games 2024. The 22-year-old athlete declined to comment on the new law.

– Fina’s new criteria for eligibility for transgender athletes and transgender athletes are discriminatory, harmful, non-scientific and inconsistent with the guidelines of the 2021 International Olympic Committee on fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination based on the identity of gender and gender differences. The eligibility criteria for the women’s category, as set out in the policy, govern all women’s bodies and will not be used without substantially violating the privacy and human rights of any athlete who competes in the women’s category. Director of Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization which defends the rights of LGBT athletes.

In November 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that each sports federation would determine its own standards on the issue of transgender athletes and transgender athletes.

Lia Thomas at the NCAA swimming pool – Photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Fina Marvel General Assembly approved the creation of a task force to lay the foundations for the creation of an open category that allows for the participation of trans women in swimming.

– Fina will always welcome all athletes. Creating a clear category will mean that everyone will have the opportunity to compete at the elite level. This has not been done before, so Fina will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel involved in developing ideas during this process. ”

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