FINA Vote On Transgender Policy: Transgender Females Cannot Compete In Female Category If They’ve Gone Through Puberty

Lia Thomas: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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FINA Vote On Transgender Policy: Trans Females Cannot Compete In Female Category If They’ve Gone Through Puberty

Male to female transgender athletes may only compete in FINA competitions and set FINA world records in the female category if they have not experienced any part of male puberty, it was decided at the FINA Extraordinary General Congress in Budapest.

Female to male athletes are eligible to compete in the men’s category.

The Congress voted in favour by 71.53% (196 votes) with 15% (42) voting against.

FINA president Husain Al Musallam proposed that a working group would be set up to establish a separate category specifically for transgender athletes which would report back in six months.

In November 2021, three groups of individuals came together to discuss and debate the transgender issue within swimming in order to draft policy and eligibility criteria.

The first was a group of medical and science experts specialising in areas including exercise physiology/muscle fatigue/differences in sexual development, among others.

The second group included legal and human rights experts with specialism in areas including sport policy, transgender inclusivity and representation from the court of arbitration for sport.

The third group included athletes such as Cate Campbell and Summer Sanders while a survey questionnaire was also sent to hundreds of FINA athletes to obtain their views.

Sanders – two-time Olympic champion – called for men’s and women’s transgender categories for four overall categories in competition. Campbell called for inclusivity while prioritising fairness as a cornerstone.

The debate about transgender inclusion took off in the United States this year when Lia Thomas competed for the University of Pennsylvania women’s program after transitioning from male to female. She previously competed as a member of the school’s men’s program. Thomas immediately surged to the top of the times lists in her events, sparking concerns about fairness and inherent advantages from male puberty. She went on to win the NCAA title in the 500 freestyle.

New FINA Transgender Policy

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1 year ago

Great decision and a brave one, at long last FINA showing courage, fairness and leadership.
Now for the rest of the world sport to follow suit.
A wonderful affirmation of women’s rights.
Well done FINA

1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony

You do realise that this will target absolutely everyone right? Even a hint of doubt about an athlete (whether male or female by birth or not) will make them eligible to be subjected to chromosomal or even genital inspection…

Are you advocating for cis-women to be subjected to this as well? I mean, if you are in favour of fairness, you should absolutely be in favour of cis-women and cis-men getting targeted the exact same way.

Women’s rights: Don’t make me laugh, did you actually read the guideline or are you just applauding a new guideline about a subject your knowledge might be a bit to limited on, about as limited as the people who probably wrote it?

I, as a transfemale at least are absolutely dead scared this is going to blow over to other sporting competitions, and even though I have absolutely no plans on competing in championships what so ever: this is going to cause people with the mindset that you have to cause transpeople in general to have to explain themselves even more.
And all of that due to a guideline that is setup by people inexperienced with the subject, misconceived about what hormones do and don’t do, and how the transition process works.
The guideline is flawed in so many ways it just shows they didn’t talk to actual medical experts, but were looking to experts to basically reinstate their view that they understand the transition process.
For instance: “Finishing transition before the year someone turns 12 or has suppressed male puberty before Tanner Stage 2” is one of the things that will not be possible, if anything, someone will have just started puberty supressing medication, so in most countries, switching sex on the birth certificate to match the desired sex will not have been possible legally, just like treatment with cross-sex hormones is, let alone surgery.

But keep believing this is protecting women’s rights… I can only hope there will be many national swimming unions fail to provide the medical information necessary, or have an insane amount of swimmers requesting to practice in the open categories as a form of protest, since the FINA has actively mentioned they are still working out what that looks like and I hope as a result would face a serious problem as a result.
Also the last time I checked the amount of people in top-sport categories who are trans is so incredibly small it would be impossible to create a whole open category for it, which is next to the fact the swimming union decided to ignore the fact that trans people will face fatal physical violence when forced to out themselves up to this day, so it’s nothing really major to have to request a sporter to just lay out their biggest secret to the whole world right? I mean, someone who might not know has never ever before commited acts of violence after they found out about someone’s history…

1 year ago
Reply to  Iris

Yes, sounds only fair to usher them out.

Seth Huston
Seth Huston
1 year ago

Thank you FINA. The right decision to ensure fair and safe competition for all. The right recommendation to include everyone by creating open division and possibly adding divisions for trans men and trans women.

1 year ago

If it does not have a WOMB, then it should not participate in female sport games, this anatomical structure difference gives males an unfair advantage, beyond hormones.

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