This past Sunday, June 19, 2022, the International Swimming Federation (FINA), decided to approve a new policy on gender inclusion, where transgender athletes are prevented from competing in women's elite races if they have gone through any part of the male puberty process.
The competitors must complete their transition before the age of 12. This policy was approved with 71% of the votes from the 152 members of FINA. They describe it as "a first step towards the complete inclusion" of transgender athletes.
"We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness in our events, especially for the women's category in FINA competitions," said FINA President Husain Al Musallam
Similarly, FINA established “open category” competitions for all swimmers whose gender identity doesn't match their birth sex.
FINA will also try to establish “an open category” in competitions for swimmers whose gender identity is different from the one they were born with
“FINA will always welcome all athletes. The creation of an open category means that everyone has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has never been done before, so FINA will have to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included, while I continue developing ideas during this process,” adds Al-Musallam.
The decision was planted after several controversies. The most recent case was swimmer Lia Thomas, who became the first openly transgender athlete to win a national college championship.
"What people don't understand is that we don't undergo the transition process to compete, we do it to be happy, authentic, to be ourselves. Having sporting advantages is not something that affects our decision," said Thomas, who stressed that trans women are "not a threat to women's sport."