World Swimming Has Banned Transgender Athletes From Women’s Events

World Swimming has just declared that from now on, transgender athletes will be officially banned from all women’s events. The policy states that the exception is that only swimmers who transitioned before they were 12 years old will be able to compete. The reason is based in science.

“This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12. It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair,” said James Pearce, a spokesperson for FINA (International Swimming Federation) president Husain Al-Musallam, in an interview with the Associated Press.

“They’re not saying everyone should transition by age 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition by that age in most countries and hopefully you wouldn’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage,” he continued.

Additionally, organization has proposed an “open competition category,” explaining that they were setting up “a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to set up this new category.” However, there are still details that need to be defined.

“No one quite knows how this is going to work,” he said. “And we need to include a lot of different people, including transgender athletes, to work out how it would work. So there are no details of how that would work. The open category is something that will start being discussed tomorrow.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hasn’t agreed to the new changes. Anne Lieberman of Athlete Ally, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ athletes, called the new policy “deeply discriminatory, harmful, unscientific” stating that it was “not in line with (the IOC’s) framework on fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations.”

“The eligibility criteria for the women’s category as it is laid out in the policy (will) police the bodies of all women, and will not be enforceable without seriously violating the privacy and human rights of any athlete looking to compete in the women’s category,” she said.

This isn’t the only organization making these kinds of changes. Just recently, cycling’s governing body made changes to its rules regarding eligibility for transgender athletes, adding rules that would make people wait longer before they can compete.

Learn more about the ban and why it’s so significant in the video below!

What are your thoughts on these new policies for World Swimming?