FINA updates transgender women rules

The new policy only allows swimmers who switched before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events.

BUDAPEST, Hungary — The World Federation of Swimming effectively banned transgender women from participating in women’s events from Monday.

FINA members largely passed a new “gender inclusion policy” on Sunday, allowing only swimmers who switched before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events. The organization also proposed an “open competition category”.

“This does not mean that people are encouraged to switch until the age of 12. It’s what the scientists say you have an advantage if you switch after puberty has started, which is unfair,” James Pearce, spokesman for FINA President Husain Al-Musallam, told The Associated Press.

“They’re not saying everyone should switch by the age of 11, that’s ridiculous. In most countries, conversion is not possible until that age, and hopefully you would not be encouraged to do so. Basically they are saying that it is not possible for people who have switched to compete without an advantage.”

Pearce confirmed that there are currently no transgender women competing in elite swimming competitions.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has just lowered the recommended minimum age for starting sex-transformation hormone treatment to 14 and some surgeries to 15 or 17.

RELATED: The Next Battle of Title IX: The Rights of Transgender Athletes

FINA’s new 24-page guideline also includes proposals for a new “open competition” category. The organization said it was establishing “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 AP that the open competition would most likely mean more events, but those details have yet to be worked out.

“Nobody knows exactly how this is supposed to work. And we have to involve a lot of different people, including transgender athletes, to figure out how it would work,” he said. “Therefore there are no details on how that would work. The open category will be discussed tomorrow.”

Members voted 71.5% in favor at the organization’s Extraordinary General Congress after hearing presentations from three professional groups — an athletes’ group, a science and medicine group, and a legal and human rights group — who had worked together to shape policy at the Based on the recommendations given to formulate by the International Olympic Committee last November.

The IOC urged shifting the focus away from individual testosterone levels and requiring evidence of when a performance benefit existed.

FINA recognizes that “some individuals and groups may be dissatisfied with the use of medical and scientific terminology in relation to sex and sex-related characteristics (but) some use of sensitive terminology is required to accurately describe the sex characteristics that separate competition.” justify categories.”

In March, Lia Thomas made history in the United States as the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship in the 500-yard freestyle.

Thomas said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​last month that she was aiming to become an Olympic swimmer in a women’s sport.”

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

Other sports have also reviewed their rules for transgender athletes.

On Thursday, the cycling federation updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes with stricter limits, forcing riders to wait longer before being able to compete.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) extended the low testosterone transition period to two years and lowered the maximum accepted testosterone level. The previous transition period was 12 months, but the UCI said recent scientific studies show that “expected adjustments in muscle mass and muscle strength/strength” in athletes who have made the transition from male to female take at least two years. FINA updates transgender women rules

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