Maria Thattil has blasted FINA’s ban on trans swimmers and claimed it sets a “dangerous” precedent for all sports.
The 29-year-old Australian model, TV personality, speaker, and former Miss Universe Australia reacted to the international swimming federation’s ruling in an interview with Today Extra.
The interview comes after FINA, an international water sports governing body, ruled that transgender female swimmers who transitioned after undergoing male puberty are to be banned from women’s races over the physical advantage they have over women who underwent female puberty.
While many people – including former Olympic gold medalist and trans advocate Caitlyn Jenner – agreed with the ban, Thattil is not happy with the “counter-intuitive” ruling.
“I firmly believe sport is for all Australians, and I think irrespective of your sexuality, your gender identity, your culture, you should be able to play and [know] there’s a space for you,” the young model, who recently revealed she was bisexual, said.
“And I do feel an outright ban, and even having a separate category [for trans swimmers], is counterintuitive and not inclusive.”
According to the 29-year-old, FINA’s controversial ban sends a wrong message and sets a dangerous precedent for all sports.
“When we’ve got human rights commissions and sporting bodies that have actually set out guidelines for how we can be trans-inclusive and why it’s essential, I do think this is setting a dangerous precedent for sport,” she added.
According to FINA’s ruling, transgender female swimmers may still compete in women’s races if “they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.”
To allow other transgender athletes to compete nonetheless, the governing body also revealed plans to introduce an “open” category which will be available at major swimming events such as Swimming World Cup, World Swimming Championships, and World Aquatics Championships.
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