Beginning on Monday, the governing body of world swimming has implemented what amounts to a ban on transgender women competing in competitions reserved for women.
On Sunday, members of FINA unanimously approved a new “gender inclusivity policy” that restricts transgender swimmers from competing in women’s competitions unless they made the shift before the age of 12. In addition to this, the group suggested having a “open competition category.”
“This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12. It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair,” James Pearce, who is the spokesperson for FINA president Husain Al-Musallam, told The Associated Press.
Pearce has verified that there are not any transgender women currently participating at competitive levels of swimming.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has recently dropped its suggested minimum age for beginning hormone treatment for gender change to 14.
The minimal age for certain operations has also been lowered, falling between 15 and 17. Along with being 24 pages long, the new policy introduced a new category called “open competition.”
The organisation said that it would be establishing “a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective approaches to set up this new category.”
Pearce indicated to the Associated Press that the open competition will most certainly result in an increase in the number of events; however, the specifics of this expansion have not yet been determined.
“Nobody really understands how things are going to play out here. And in order to figure out how it would function, we need to involve a wide variety of people, including athletes who identify as transgender “he said.
“Therefore, there are no specifics of how that would operate. The open category is something that we are going to begin talking about beginning tomorrow.”
The three specialist groups — an athlete group, a science and medicine group, and a legal and human rights group — presented their recommendations to the International Olympic Committee in November. After hearing the presentations, the members of the org decided to form a policy based on the recommendations.