Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images, Files
(New York) — Those who are concerned that the attitude towards transgender athletes, created by one of the world’s most important athletic federations, will make ripples across the rest of the sports world, which could make a big difference. There is also.
The Governing Body of International Swimming has announced a policy to allow only athletes who have transitioned before the age of 12 to participate in the Elite International Swimming Tournament.
FINA’s decision pointed out that what the organization says is the “performance gap” that emerges between biological men and women during puberty.
“Without eligibility criteria based on biological gender or gender-related traits, it is very unlikely that you will see a biological woman in a final, podium, or championship position,” said part of the statement. Please read.
The policy also includes a proposal for a new open competition category that allows athletes to compete regardless of gender, legal gender, or gender identity.
FINA quoted that the decision was reached after consulting with scientists and policy makers, but the policy still shocked the entire world of swimming. USA Wrestling and the International Rugby League are already following, announcing similar policies, and other governing bodies may follow.
FIFA, the governing body for football, and World Athletics, the international governing body for athletics, have also announced a review of their transgender athlete policies.
Transgender athlete Schuyler Bailer said FINA’s policy is “extreme.”
“This is the most extreme policy I’ve ever read. I think it’s based on the discrimination seen especially in transgender people,” said the first openly at the NCAA Division 1 competition. Bailer, a transgender swimmer and the first transgender man in the NCAA Division 1 sport, told ABC News. ..
This decision can affect athletes like Lia Thomas. The record season for Lia Thomas’ women’s swimming division has sparked a storm of international controversy. Recruited by the Penn Quakers University Men’s Swimming Team and competing for three seasons, Thomas began the transition in 2019 and joined the women’s team in the 2021-202 season.
Earlier this year, Thomas made history as the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA Division 1 National Championship. That season she set a record for the Ivy League, significantly rising in the women’s rankings compared to her performance in the men’s field.
In her only television interview, Thomas told ABC News in May.
“Transgender women competing in women’s sports do not threaten women’s sports as a whole,” said Thomas. “Transgender women are a very minority of all athletes, and we haven’t seen a large wave dominated by transgender women.”
At the time, Thomas told ABC News that her goal was to swim in the Olympic trials. But now, new policy changes prohibit Thomas from achieving those dreams.
In a statement to ABC News, Thomas said: It is discriminatory and only harms all women. “
Natalie Fahei, a former Southern Illinois University swimmer, was one of the first openly transgender women to participate in the NCAA. Unlike Thomas, Fahei never broke her record and her race was far less controversial.
“I was solidly neutral after I migrated. I came in and didn’t break the record,” Fahey said. “I only attended the meeting, but the fact that I’m certainly not as good as Leah only affects it.”
Fahey added that being able to swim as a woman is very important to her.
Nancy Hogshead-McCarl, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, is the founder of Champion Woman, a non-profit organization advocating gender equality in women’s and girls’ sports. She said she advocates a category of open competitions.
“Transgender women are women, but there are some places where biology is really important and women’s sports are one of them,” she said.
However, Byler argues that this policy will have a lasting impact on transgender youth who extend beyond sport.
“Most people play sports for fun, learn to work together, form teams, and have fellow mentorship,” said Bailer. “this [policy] To exclude women, we need to know which girls are transgender, so we monitor all women. And when you do that, you force a crackdown on every woman’s body. “
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