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Swimming: An "open class" will be created where transgender people can compete

Swimming: An “open class” will be created where transgender people can compete

This question has divided the sports world for years: Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in their category of choice? Today, Sunday, the president of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced the creation of an “open category” in which transgender athletes can compete.

“I do not want the athlete to be told that he cannot compete at the highest level,” Al-Muslim told an extraordinary conference of the authority held during the World Championships in Budapest. “I will create a working group to create an open category during our competitions. We will be the first union to do so.”

The controversy intensified in the spring with the coronation of Leah Thomas in the United States with the league championships. Born 23 years ago, this American won the NCAA 500-yard swimming championship in Atlanta, more than a second and a half ahead of the second-place swimmer. Her critics felt that having competed as a man in the past, Leah Thomas had an unfair physiological advantage.

At her conference, Fina adopted a new “inclusivity” policy, which would effectively exclude many transgender swimmers from elite women’s swimming. Brent Nowicki, Fina’s CEO, said the organization is determined to maintain separate competitions for men and women.

“Listen to the Science”

“He recognizes that some individuals may not be able to compete in the category that best matches legal gender compatibility or gender identity,” Vina added. On the other hand, the men’s competition will be open to all. But athletes who were born male and became female would not be able to compete in the women’s Fina categories, or set world records, if they became male before reaching puberty.

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Last year, the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines on the issue, while asking federations to develop their own “sports-specific” rules. Fina had appointed three committees, one made up of medical experts, one of lawyers, and one of athletes, to examine the matter. The medical committee found that men who became women retained the benefits.

“Even with the hormones reined in, the sexual advantages will be retained,” said one of the members, Dr. Michael Joyner. Some of the advantages that men gain at puberty are: structural And it’s not lost with hormone suppression,” said another member, Dr. Sandra Hunter of Marquette University in Milwaukee. This includes things like a larger heart and lungs, longer bones, and larger feet and hands. »

As for the swimmers, Australian quadruple Olympic champion Kate Campbell spoke up to defend the position. “My role is to stand here today and say to the transgender people that we want them to be part of the larger community of swimmers (…) but also to stand here and say (…) Listen to the science She said.