Someone finally put their foot down and acknowledged reality.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) voted overwhelmingly last weekend to bar transgenders from competing in women’s swimming and aquatic events unless they “transitioned” before the age of 12 or before they reach stage two on the puberty Tanner Scale.
The policy also says that athletes who have previously used testosterone as part of “female-to-male gender-affirming hormone treatment will only be eligible to compete in women’s competitions if the testosterone was used for less than a year in total, the treatment didn’t take place during puberty and testosterone levels in serum are back to pre-treatment levels,” according to CNN.
Furthermore, FINA will look to develop “open category events for athletes” that do not meet FINA’s eligibility criteria for men’s or women’s categories.
This is a major development. It not only recognizes the reality of the advantages transgendered people have over biological females but it creates a separate competitive category for transgender athletes.
“We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions,” FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said. “FINA will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so FINA will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process.”
The International Olympic Committee is under pressure to change its guidance on transgendered athletes. In November 2021, the IOC issued its Framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations, stating that no athlete should be excluded from any competition “on the assumption of an advantage due to their gender” and rejected the notion that a “testosterone proxy was enough to be excluded from the women’s category.”
Those assertions brought a response from the International Federation of Sports Medicine and the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations. They issued a joint position statement disputing parts of the IOC’s position.
FINA convened an extraordinary panel to study the issue.
FINA says it responded by forming a working group to “consider the best available statistical, scientific, and medical evidence concerning sex differences in sports performance, and any associated male sex-based advantage,” and use the information to establish eligibility criteria for transgender athletes.
The working group was comprised of an athlete group, which FINA says included transgender athletes and coaches, a science and medicine group as well as a legal and human rights group.
The IOC responded by claiming that each sport is governed by its international federation that makes its own rules.
The IOC, FINA, and international athletic governing bodies are caught between being woke and acknowledging reality. The fact is, by the time a male athlete goes through puberty, he will have developed muscle mass that a female athlete can’t develop. Studies have yet to show whether the male adolescent muscle mass developed in puberty can ever be reduced to the point that the male athlete does not have a distinct advantage over a female athlete.
FINA has a fair solution: let these transgender athletes compete in their own classifications. We’ll hear cries of “separate but equal” as the transgender lobby will look to connect the separate classification to 19th-century racial policies. But that’s silly. If transgenders want us to acknowledge more than two genders, they’re going to need to accept their own definition of gender.