Trans swimmers including NCAA champion Lia Thomas have been banned from competing against biological women by an international governing body.
The international sports federation FINA has approved new policies concerning the inclusion of trans swimmers in professional women’s competitions.
With 71.5% voting in favor, the governing body ruled that trans swimmers who transitioned after going through male puberty are to be blocked from competing in women’s races.
Alternatively, individuals who transition before the age of 12 could still compete against swimmers born as female due to their body growth not being affected by male puberty prior to the transition.
The federation also announced plans to unveil a new “open category” that would allow transgender to compete without causing controversy.
The decision comes after countless swimmers threatened to boycott the sport over the alleged unfair advantage transgender swimmers have over those who were born female.
Confirming allegations of the ‘unfair’ advantage were also numerous doctors who suggested that trans swimmers who underwent male puberty have developed stronger bodies and muscles and therefore hold a physical advantage over female competitors.
“There are social aspects to sport, but physiology and biology underpin it. Testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla,” Mayo Clinic doctor Michael J. Joyner previously told The New York Times.
“Body size, hand size, foot size, bone density [are all factors] but the main thing is the interactions of exercise training and muscle. I think that evidence so far would suggest a period of a year, two, three or even four years [of hormone therapy] is insufficient.”
After FINA’s ruling, female swimmers spoke out and praised the sports federation for “standing up for fair sport for females.”
Among them was also former British Olympian Sharron Davies who said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport @fina & @fina_president for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females.
“Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”
Davies appeared to be responding to her Friday comment in which she took a jab at trans swimmers by suggesting they obtain permanent, unfair advantage as they go through male puberty.
“Once a male has gone through puberty there will always be a large retained performance advantage & bone structure,” she wrote on Friday.
“Why are we asking females to accept competing with a known disadvantage before we even start? Females are not men with less testosterone. Compete with your sex.”
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