World’s Swimming Body Bans Trans Women From Women’s Swimming Events


FINA, the world’s governing body for swimming, has voted to ban trans women from participating in women’s swimming competitions.
The vote was held at the FINA Extraordinary General Congress 2022 in Budapest and had 71.5 percent approval. The news come after there’s been an ongoing debate over whether trans athletes should compete according to their gender identity or the one assigned at birth.
This is what FINA’s president, Husain Al-Musallam said in a statement:
“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,”

Under the new policy, trans women would have to show that they haven’t experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2, or before the age of 12 (whichever is later).
The Tanner Stages describe the physical changes people undergo during puberty, and this move effectively bans them to compete in the women’s category.

According to FINA, the move was necessary because of the ‘performance gap’ that appears between males and females during puberty.

This is what the policy reads:

“Without eligibility standards based on biological sex or sex-linked traits, we are very unlikely to see biological females in finals, on podiums, or in championship positions; and in sports and events involving collisions and projectiles, biological female athletes would be at greater risk of injury.

FINA added that the policy has been devised in consultation with athletic, scientific, and legal experts.

The reactions to the announcement have been divided. Namely, trans and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups met the move with swift criticism, calling it ‘discriminatory, harmful, and unscientific’.

The move comes after a fierce debate over fairness and inclusion in swimming and other sports after trans swimmer Lia Thomas had a record-breaking season. The University of Pennsylvania swimmer has been accused of having an unfair advantage competing in the women’s category.

FINA said, however, that it welcomes every athlete, and that they’re open to developing a new category in swimming competitions for people who don’t meet the criteria for either the men’s or women’s events.