World Swimming Body Restricts Transgender Women From Competitions – NBC Las Vegas

BUDAPEST, Hungary — World swimming’s governing body has effectively barred transgender women from competing in women’s events starting Monday.

Members of the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee to administer international competitions in aquatics, FINA widely adopted a new “gender inclusion policy” on Sunday that only allows swimmers who transitioned before the age of 12 to compete. in women’s events. The organization also proposed an “open competition category”.

“This is not to say that people are encouraged to transition at the age of 12. It’s what scientists say, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair.” James Pearce, a spokesman for FINA President Husain Al-Musallam, told The Associated Press.

“They’re not saying everyone should transition at 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition at that age in most countries and hopefully they won’t encourage you to do so. Basically what they’re saying is that it’s not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”

Pearce confirmed that there are currently no transgender women competing at the elite levels of swimming.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health just lowered its recommended minimum age to start gender transition hormone treatment to 14 and some surgeries to 15 or 17.

The new rules will apply at TSA checkpoints at airports and at the issuance of passports.

FINA’s new 24-page policy also includes proposals for a new “open competition” category. The organization said it was creating “a new task force that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to establish this new category.”

Pearce told the AP that open competition would likely mean more events, but those details have yet to be ironed out.

“No one really knows how this is going to work. And we need to include a lot of different people, including transgender athletes, to figure out how that would work,” she said. “So there are no details of how that would work. The open category is something that will begin to be discussed tomorrow”.

Governor Ron DeSantis made official his proclamation that Emma Weyant had been the winner of the nation’s championship women’s 500-yard freestyle event.

Members voted in favor by 71.5% at the organization’s extraordinary general meeting after hearing presentations from three specialist groups (an athlete group, a science and medicine group, and a legal and human rights group) who had been working together to form the policy following the recommendations given. by the International Olympic Committee last November.

The IOC urged a shift in focus from individual testosterone levels and called for evidence to show when a performance advantage existed.

FINA said it recognizes “that some people and groups may be uncomfortable with the use of medical and scientific terminology related to sex and sex-related traits (but) some use of sensitive terminology is needed to be precise about the sex characteristics that justify a separate competition. categories.”

The legal battle unfolds after Governor Greg Abbott ordered that these cases be investigated as child abuse.

In March, Lia Thomas made history in the United States as the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship, the 500-yard freestyle.

Thomas said last month on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​that she aspired to become an Olympic swimmer. She also took issue with those who say she has an unfair biological advantage that blights the integrity of women’s athletics, saying “trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”

The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Thomas.

Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate sex changes in minors as child abuse.

Other sports have also been examining their rules around transgender athletes.

On Thursday, cycling’s governing body updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes with stricter limits that will force riders to wait longer before they can compete.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) increased the transition period in low testosterone levels to two years and lowered the maximum accepted level of testosterone. The previous transition period was 12 months, but the UCI said recent scientific studies show that “expected adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength/power” among athletes who have transitioned from male to female take at least two years. .

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