A new rule has been put in place for transgender women to compete in women’s events but it’s wildly unachievable.
World swimming’s governing body adopted a new policy aiming to be “gender inclusive” but it’s effectively banned trans women from competing in women’s events.
The new policy that was introduced on Sunday only permits swimmers who transition before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events.
“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,” James Pearce, a spokesperson for FINA president Husain Al-Musallam told 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.”
Unsurprisingly this means that there will be no trans women competing in the elite levels of swimming this year.
Among the new 24-page policy there were suggestions for a proposed new “open competition” category. FINA said it may start “a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to set up this new category.”
Pearce told the AP that they’re still working out the details: “No one quite knows how this is going to work. 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.”
It’s worth noting that The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has lowered it’s recommended minimum age for starting to transition to 14 for hormonal treatment and 15 or 17 for surgeries.
More to come.