In a landmark decision World Swimming’s governing body shocked the world by bravely announcing they have banned some transgender athletes from their Women’s events. In a very lopsided vote more than 71% of FINA members agreed that there should be a very strict stipulation put in place that would prevent most transgender women from competing against cisgender women during their swimming competitions. At the core of their decision is alleged science backed evidence that complete inclusion creates unfair biological advantages.
Details on FINA 12 Year Rule that Bans Transgender Athletes from World Swimming Women’s Events
According to reports from NBC, the new gender inclusion policy put in place by FINA only permits transgender women who transitioned before the age of 12 to compete against cisgender women. A cisgender woman is a person who was born biologically female. In a public statement FINA president Husain Al-Musallam claimed that transgender women who transition after the age of 12 have a biological advantage because they were already going through puberty.
This landmark decision comes a few months after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas sparked controversy after dominating an NCAA tournament. Many people were not happy, because they felt she had a major physical advantage even over the best biological female swimmers who are Olympians.
The LGBTQ Community Reacts to FINA’s 12 Year Rule Banning Transgender Women from World Swimming Events
Although FINA’s president claims there decision of only allowing transgender women who transitioned before 12 years old to compete in World Swimming Events is backed by science, many people still feel it can have dangerous consequences. On social media people in the LGTBQ community claim that FINA’s new ban on trans athletes encourages people to start transitioning at 11 years old, which can be very dangerous health wise since it affects normal hormone production.
Under FINA’s new policy Lia Thomas would not be able to compete in World Swimming Events, because she began transitioning in 2019 when she was around 18 years old. Check out the highlights from her historical Women’s 500 freestyle win back in May.
Some people feel it’s unfair to cisgender women if there are transgender women competing against them who possibly have a physical advantage. In theory no amount of training can level that playing field. Likewise, it’s easy to see why some people feel it is morally incorrect, and seems alienating to transgender women for governing bodies to say they can’t compete against women.
It’s safe to say there might be some long court battles ahead focused on this legality and ethics of FINA’s new gender inclusion policy.