This FINA policy will affect Lia Thomas, who will be unable to compete against biological women in the Olympics but will be able to compete in the new “open” category FINA plans to establish.
FINA, the governing body of professional swimming, has finally voted to restrict biological males’ participation in women’s elite swimming competitions. They plan to have an “open” category in which transgender swimmers can compete.
Swimming’s world governing body, FINA, on Sunday voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions and create a working group to establish an “open” category for them in some events as part of its new policy.
The new policy, which takes effect Monday, will require transgender competitors to have completed their transition by the age of 12 to be able to compete in women’s competitions. The working group will spend the next six months to determine how to set up the new open category, FINA said.
“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. “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.”
According to ESPN, the policy was passed “with a roughly 71% majority after it was put to the members of 152 national federations with voting rights that had gathered for the congress at the Puskas Arena.”
Here at LI, we’ve been covering the on-going struggles of women swimmers at UPenn who have been told to “get over” seeing transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ male genitalia in the women’s locker room and who cannot possibly beat Thomas. The latter point was hit home by Florida governor Ron DeSantis when he unofficially declared Emma Weyant the actual winner of the 500y freestyle swim.
This FINA policy will affect Thomas, who will be unable to compete against biological women in the Olympics but will be able to compete in the new “open” category FINA plans to establish.
The regulations would have a major impact on the career of Lia Thomas, who earlier this year became the first openly transgender woman to win a NCAA Division I women’s swimming title.
Thomas told Sports Illustrated in March that she wants to continue to compete after college, with the 2024 U.S. Olympic trials as a goal.
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