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Dramatic Action Taken Against Transgender Athletes
Lia Thomas is a biological male who participated in women’s swimming this past season, mostly dominating the field, which was made up of women who hadn’t benefited from years of testosterone and training as a guy in athletics.
While the NCAA declined to address the issue and protect women’s ability to participate in sports without being defeated by biological males, FINA, the international governing body of swimming, did.
It held a referendum over the weekend in which more than 70% of its members voted in support of a policy requiring transgender swimmers to complete their transition by the age of 12 in order to participate in the gender they transitioned to.
FINA did, however, suggest an open competition category in which anybody, regardless of gender change, might compete.
The Associated Press spoke with James Pearce, a representative for FINA president Husain Al-Musallam, on how the rule change affects transgender swimmers.
“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. They’re not saying everyone should transition by age 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition by that age in most countries and hopefully, you wouldn’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”
If the new FINA rule is implemented, it will essentially bar controversial NCAA champion and transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from competing in any FINA competitions other than the open category.
Despite the fact that Thomas’ collegiate swimming career is finished, he has stated that he would seek to compete in the 2024 Olympics, making this choice significant to him because it means he will be unable to compete as a woman.
Since FINA is the governing authority, until the NCAA changes its mind, transgender swimmers will not be allowed to participate in the gender category to which they transitioned unless they did so at a young age.