FINA, the international swimming federation, has officially banned transgender women from competing in elite competitions if they’ve gone through male puberty, the New York Times reports. The new policy was announced on Sunday, June 19.
- The new requirements seem more reasonable to many. The policy requires that any transgender athletes wanting to compete in women’s competitions never went through male puberty or that puberty-blocking drugs began as soon as physical changes began to appear or before age 12, whichever occurred later.
- Athletes wanting to compete will have to go even further to prove themselves. Transgender athletes meeting the above condition will also need to prove to FINA that their testosterone levels have been continuously suppressed since the onset of puberty with no lapses in between.
- FINA believes the change is fair and just to all swimmers. FINA president Husain al-Musallam said in a statement: “We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.”
- An additional category has also been introduced. FINA went even further to even the playing field by introducing an open category to allow every athlete “the opportunity to compete at an elite level.”
- The policy was voted in by 71.5% of Members Federations. It was first devised by a working group that came together in November 2021 and included scientists, medical and legal experts, and athletes in order to find the right answer to what has become an increasingly tense issue in the sport. The new policy will be in effect as of Monday, June 20.