Lia ThomasParticipation in women’s swimming has reached a breaking point – because the sport’s world governing body has weighed in… and their decision is against her.
FINA – French for the International Swimming Federation – issued its ruling this weekend regarding transgender athletes (specifically trans women) participating in women’s swimming…and they say it’s forbidden, with some caveats .
The org is new Politics says male-to-female swimmers who transition before age 12 or before Tanner’s Stage 2 of puberty — whichever comes last — can compete in women’s events. The reason…they say there is no doubt that a trans female athlete who has already gone through male puberty has an unfair physical advantage over cisgender women.
They arrived at this conclusion on the basis of multiple studies, reports and presentations by 3 groups of specialists, who proposed their conclusions to FINA – composed of members of 152 national federations – who then voted… with a majority of 71% in favor of this decision.
Following the fall, a representative from FINA’s Prez told AP, “That’s not to say people are encouraged to transition at age 12. That’s what the scientists are saying. , that if you transition after the onset of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair.”
The spox adds: “They’re not saying everyone should transition before the age of 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition at that age in most countries and I hope you won’t be encouraged to do so. Basically what they’re saying is that it’s not possible for people who have made the transition to compete without having an advantage.” They clarified that there are no trans women currently competing at elite levels of swimming…presumably, meaning international competition.
One thing that FINA considers inclusive for trans swimmers…an “open competition” category. It’s ill-defined at this point, but they’re tasking a group to investigate further.
It’s unclear whether the new FINA rules will be adopted by agencies like the NCAA, which currently allows people like Lia to compete in collegiate swimming. She made history this year by winning a national title in women’s swimming, the 500 meter freestyle.
In any case, some welcome the news… in particular Caitlyn Jennerwho has been advocating for such a change for some time now – saying that trans female athletes have an undeniable physical advantage over their cisgender competition, like many others.
She wrote: “It worked! Took a lot of heat – but fair is fair! If you go through male puberty you shouldn’t be able to take medals away from women. Period.”
Lia herself does not appear to have commented publicly yet.