Last Updated on June 20, 2022
The world swimming governing body, FINA, effectively banned so-called transgender women from competing in women’s sporting events, starting Monday. The new ban will bar Lia Thomas, a biological from male UPenn who smashed women’s swimming records this season, from further competition
The new FINA rules do allow biological men who have fully “transitioned” before the age of 12 to compete against women, as long as their testosterone levels have been continually suppressed since then.
So-called transgender athletes who desire to compete against athletes of differing biological gender must prove they have “complete androgen insensitivity and therefore could not experience male puberty” or “They are androgen sensitive but had male puberty suppressed beginning at Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later, and they have since continuously maintained their testosterone levels in serum (or plasma) below 2.5 nmol/L” or “An unintentional deviation from the below 2.5 nmol/L requirement may result in retrospective disqualification of results and/or a prospective period of ineligibility or “An intentional deviation from the below 2.5 nmol/L requirement may result in retrospective disqualification of results and a prospective period of ineligibility equal or commensurate in length to periods imposed under the FINA DRC for intentional anti-doping rule violations involving anabolic steroids.”
FINA also initiated an “open category” for transgender athletes to have the opportunity to compete against each other at various events.
The details of the open category will be decided by a “working group to consider the best available statistical, scientific, and medical evidence concerning sex differences in sports performance, and any associated male sex-based advantage.”
James Pearce, a spokesman for FINA told the Associated Press that FINA’s updated policy was rolled out to end unfair advantages: “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.”
The new gender policy was passed with a 71% majority in favor of it. 152 individual national federations have voting rights in the sporting group.
FINA explained the importance of excluding transgender individuals from women’s sports, admitting “that some individuals and groups may be uncomfortable with the use of medical and scientific terminology related to sex and sex-linked traits, [but] some use of sensitive terminology is needed to be precise about the sex characteristics that justify separate competition categories.”
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.