Transgender female athletes barred from swimming events

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The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has approved a new policy that prohibits transgender female athletes from competing in women’s events. The new policy effectively prohibits transgender female athletes from competing.

Under the policy, only transgender women who “have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later,” will be allowed to to participate. This ruling effectively prohibits most transgender women from competing in women’s swimming. FINA has said it may develop an “open category” for swimming competitions for people who do not meet the criteria for either the men’s or women’s events.

The International Olympic Committee released a new set of guidelines for transgender athletes in 2021. The framework allowed individual sports to set the criteria and dropped the rule that eligibility for transgender athletes would be based on testosterone level .

Twitter reacts to restriction of transgender female athletes in women’s events

A Twitter user commented this “Transphobic: Trans women can’t compete in women’s sports unless they transition before puberty. Also Transphobic: We’re making it illegal to transition before you’re a legal adult.”

The user was referring to how several US states have attempted to ban transitioning until a person reaches legal age. In Alabama, it is a crime to provide gender-affirming health care, such as providing puberty blockers or performing gender transition surgery to people under the age of 19.

The FINA rule states that transgender female athletes can only compete in women’s events if they transition before puberty or before the age of 12.

Another user commented on how restrictions on transgender female athletes would be done in the name of ‘fairness’. They describe the decision as “hitting trans athletes” rather than genetic or biological advantages. They added that the biological advances of Michael Phelps far outweighed any advantages transgender women would have in swimming.

Michael Phelps produces half the lactic acid a typical athlete produces and has double-jointed ankles. The lactic acid causes fatigue and the double-jointed ankles give it great span. Thus, due to biological factors, Phelps is less likely to tire and has greater range when kicking.

An user tweeted his concerns and said the new ruling “introduces a whole new level of policing that will make sports inaccessible and unsafe for people”. The user also said that the rules used to exclude transgender women from sports would also be used to exclude women of color from sports.

Senator for Victoria, Lidia Alma Thorpe tweeted that “trans women are women. Trans men are men. Sports organizations make their leagues unfair when they exclude people from competition.


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