The international government body for swimmers, FINA, announced its decision to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite events.
However, it does have one condition.
The new policy will require transgender swimmers to have completed their transition by 12 years old to compete in women’s competitions and maintain their circulating testosterone below the levels of 2.5 nmol/L.
“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 Pierce, the spokesperson for the FINA president said.
Pierce made it clear though, that the ban doesn’t mean they want to promote transitioning by the age of 11.
“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 encourage to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”
With 71 percent of the vote in favor of the ban, FINA’s executive director said that the approach in drafting the regulations was science backed, comprehensive and emphasized competitive fairness.
The new policy will ban transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from competing against other female athletes, however FINA is working on a “open competition policy” that will allow transgender athletes to compete in another category.
In an explanation to how it came to its decision, they said "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,"