FINA’s ‘Gender Inclusion Policy’ and its Implications for Transgender Athletes
This article entitled, “FINA votes to restrict transgender participation in elite women’s competition,” was published by CBC and written by Ciaran Fahey. In its new “gender inclusion policy,” the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) introduced guidelines prohibiting the participation of swimmers who have undergone gender transition after age 12 in women’s events. Voting 71.5% in favour of the new 24-page blueprint, FINA’s general congress heard presentations from athletic, medical and human rights groups to develop its strategy moving forward. While still largely undeveloped, FINA’s policy includes an “open competition category” that seeks to offer alternatives to those now prohibited from competing.
Critics of the new plan contend that it is “discriminatory and unscientific,” as several prominent details remain unclear. In a statement to CBC, Athlete Ally, an American LGBTQ+ athletic advocacy group, argues that this new legislation could not be enforced without violating participating athletes’ privacy and human rights. Additionally, Dr. Alireza Hamidian Jahromi, co-director of the Gender Affirmation Surgery Center at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, points out that gender transition is a process that includes separate social, hormonal and surgical stages. FINA fails to specify which stage in the process athletes must have undergone by the age of 12 to be eligible to compete.