Transgender women are in principle no longer allowed to participate in professional swimming competitions if they have completed their transition to female after their male puberty. This is what the international swimming federation FINA decided on Sunday. Only women who have completed their transition before the age of 12 are allowed to participate. Women who transitioned after the age of 12 must be able to demonstrate that they have “suppressed” their testosterone levels and that no physical changes have occurred after that age as a result of the puberty.
A large majority of the federation’s member federations voted in favor of the proposal on Sunday. According to Husain Al-Musallam, president of the federation, the measure aims to “protect the rights of athletes to compete” and also “to protect the fairness of the competition”. The swimming federation wants to add a new category of professional competitions, especially for swimmers who identify with a different gender than the one they were born with.
The decision seems to have mainly to do with the issue of American transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. Nationally, she was ranked 65th in the men’s race, but after moving up to the women’s, she became the national champion in the 500-meter freestyle with the NCAA college athletic organization. She now wants to qualify for the US Olympic swim team.
If Thomas were to go to the Olympics as transgender, she wouldn’t be the first trans athlete. Last year, Laurel Hubbard participated in the Tokyo Games as a weightlifter for New Zealand. She then participated in women’s competitions. (NRC)
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of June 21, 2022
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