Swimming's Governing Physique to Prohibit Transgender Athletes From Competing in Girls's Sports

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The governing physique for worldwide swimming permitted new insurance policies for transgender swimmers that may go into impact beginning on June 20.

In a notice (pdf) on June 19, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) mentioned it would solely enable organic male swimmers who’ve reached puberty earlier than the age of 12 to compete in girls’s occasions. About 72 p.c of FINA members voted in favor of the directive to limit the participation of transgender athletes in elite girls’s competitions and create an “open” class for them.

The debate intensified after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a organic male who publicly identifies as a feminine, grew to become the primary transgender NCAA champion in girls’s Division I historical past after profitable the ladies’s 500-yard freestyle earlier this yr. The win drew vital backlash from female swimmers, activists, and different athletes, together with Thomas’s teammates.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated final month, Thomas expressed the intention to hunt a spot on the nationwide girls’s swimming group earlier than the 2024 Olympics. The new FINA rule issued on June 19 would block Thomas’s participation.

The new eligibility coverage for FINA-backed competitions says that organic male athletes are eligible to compete in girls’s sports activities provided that “they can establish to FINA’s comfortable satisfaction that they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 (of puberty) or before age 12, whichever is later,” in line with the discover. The governing physique added that organic girls who declare to be males can absolutely compete in males’s swimming occasions.

The group heard from a number of docs and scientists who argued that puberty provides a transparent bodily benefit to males over females.

“By 14 years or older, the difference between boys and girls is substantial. That’s due to the advantages experienced due to the physiological adaptations in testosterone and the possession of the Y chromosome,” physiologist Dr. Sandra Hunter said. “Some of these physical advantages are structural in origin such as height, limb length, heart size, lung size and they will be retained, even with the suppression or reduction of testosterone that occurs in the transition from male to female.”

FINA President Husain Al-Musallam in a press release that the governing physique has “to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.”

He added that its newly created “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,” he mentioned.

Sharron Davies, who gained a swimming silver medal on the 1980 Olympic Games, welcomed the choice.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport, FINA, and the FINA president for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches, and standing up for fair sport for females,” Davies mentioned, including that “fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”

The NCAA mentioned in January that it will allow “a sport-by-sport approach to transgender participation,” or participation by athletes who declare to be a gender that doesn’t match their organic intercourse.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

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Jack Phillips is a breaking information reporter at The Epoch Times primarily based in New York.


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