This policy is the strictest by any Olympic organization and effectively prevents any transgender women who have gone through male puberty from competing in women.
FINA also agreed to work towards establishing an “open” category for certain events that will ensure that all swimmers have a chance to compete.
University of Pennsylvania swimmer Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history after winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle earlier this year.
The success of Thomas, who played on the Pennsylvania men’s team for three years and before setting numerous program records with the women’s team, sparked a wide-ranging discussion about swimming and sports participation in general and issues of competitive justice. Gave air
Here is the background to the FINA decision and why it is important to the game world.
Why did FINA make this decision?
Calls are being made by former swimmers and coaches to the governing body to limit the participation of transgender women in the sport, which intensified after Thomas’ victory in the American College Championships.
Campaigners for change say that those who have gone through male puberty have physical benefits and therefore need to be protected from competing with women.
Is this a ban on all transgender swimmers in the competition?
This rule only applies to FINA-run elite competitions, such as their World Championships, and competitions where FINA sets eligibility criteria – primarily the Olympic Games. It also has an impact on who is eligible to set a world record in women’s swimming.
It does not necessarily apply to national or regional competitions or lower level competitions. National federations can apply their own standards to their competitions.
This rule only affects transgender athletes in women’s competitions. Male to female transgender athletes (male transgender) will be eligible to compete in the men’s race without any restrictions.
The creation of an ‘open category’, the details of which are yet to be worked out, will also create space for transgender women to compete.
What evidence did FINA present before making this decision?
The new FINA policy stems from a working group consisting of three components – an Athlete Group, a Science and Medicine Group and a Legal and Human Rights Group, which FINA says is “the best available statistical, scientific report on sex.” And the medical evidence has been studied. Differences in sports performance, and any related male gender-based benefits. “
The FINA said the science group “consisted of independent specialists in the fields of physiology, endocrinology, and human performance, including experts on gender differences in human performance and transgender medicine.”
Group members told FINA congressional delegates in Budapest that evidence showed that transitioning from male puberty to trans female swimmers had a physical benefit that persisted even after hormone therapy as part of their transition. Is.
What is the position of other sports?
In November, the International Olympic Committee issued a “framework” on the issue, which left eligibility decisions to individual sports bodies, but added that “unless the evidence is otherwise determined, athletes It should not be considered an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage. Sexual orientation, physical appearance and / or transgender status. “
Many sports organizations allow transgender women to compete in women’s competitions if they have lowered their testosterone levels to a certain level.
FINA’s decision could increase pressure for similar moves within other sports.
Can the decision be challenged?
The most common way to challenge the decisions of international sports bodies is through the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. Other sports will be watching any legal action with keen interest.