The world association Fina has set new rules for trans people in swimming competitions. According to these rules, they are only allowed to enter women’s competitions if they have completed their gender reassignment by the age of twelve.
Under the new rules, trans women would only be allowed to compete in women’s competitions if, among other things, they can demonstrate to Fina’s satisfaction that they have not passed any part of male puberty past a certain stage (Tanner stage 2) or before the age of 12 experienced, whichever comes later.
The Fina has also set up a working group to work on a so-called “open” competition category. The decision of the extraordinary association congress has already caused criticism on social media.
“I don’t want an athlete to be told they can’t compete at the highest level,” federation president Al-Musallam said at an extraordinary congress during the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. “I will set up a working group to set up an open category at our races,” Al-Musallam said. “We will be the first association to do that.”
The topic had recently attracted attention, especially in connection with the American Lia Thomas. She became the first trans woman to win the highest level of college athletics in March.
Critics then described Thomas’ participation in women’s races as unfair. They have a biological advantage over their competitors, they argued. On the other hand, people who defend Thomas in particular and trans people in general said that physical characteristics are never fair, most top athletes have some advantage and that is why they are so good at their respective disciplines.
At the Fina Congress on Sunday, 71.5 percent of the participants voted in favor of the new set of rules. The event had previously featured speeches by working groups made up of athletes, scientists, medical professionals and human rights experts.