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Swimming recognizes a 'new category' for transgender people

Swimming recognizes a ‘new category’ for transgender people

The head of the International Swimming Federation, Kuwaiti Hussain Al-Musallam, announced on Sunday a plan to launch an “open category” in order to allow transgender athletes to compete in a separate category at the elite level.

But this new FINA regulation will not allow many transgender athletes to participate in women’s elite class competitions.

“I do not want any athlete to be told that he cannot compete at the highest level,” Al-Musallam said at the International Federation’s Extraordinary Congress, adding, “I will form a working group to create an open category in our tournaments. We will be the first federation to take this step.”

Al-Muslim was speaking after the International Swimming Federation (FINA) revealed that it had adopted a policy of inclusivity, which was subsequently approved by members.

FINA Executive Director Brent Nowicki said the world swimming body was determined to keep the competition separate between men and women.

He added that the federation “recognizes that some individuals may not be able to compete in the category that best matches their legal gender or gender identity”.

Under the rules, he said, male competitions would be open to everyone, but “male-to-female transgender athletes and intersex athletes cannot compete in women’s competitions or set a world record, unless they can demonstrate that they have not experienced any component of male puberty.” “.

In the ensuing debate, Dr. Christer Magnusson, a Swedish member of the International Federation’s medical committee, was among those who complained about the repercussions of having two 10-year-old boys to decide to begin the process of transsexualism.

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Last year, the International Olympic Committee announced guidelines but asked federations to pass a “sport-specific” law.

The FINA has set up three expert committees, one medical, one legal, and one made up of athletes, to look into the matter.

The medical committee found that men who convert to a woman retained an advantage.

“Some of the advantages that males gain at puberty are structural advantages that they do not lose when hormones are suppressed,” said Dr. Sandra Hunter of Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Hunter enumerated the skeletal advantages retained by transgender men and women: “bigger lungs, larger hearts, longer bones, and larger hands and feet.”

Legal experts concluded that the policy to exclude most transgender swimmers “would be legal,” according to “AFP”.

On behalf of the Athletes Committee, Australian swimmer Kate Campbell, four-time Olympic gold winner, said, “My role is to stand here today and tell trans people that we want you to be part of the broader swimming community…but also to stand here and say… +Listen Science+”.

In the United States, swimming was embroiled in a controversy over the competition of transgender women against women who had given birth to women, and Leah Thomas became the face of the issue.

Thomas, a freestyle swimming specialist, competed with the men’s team at the University of Pennsylvania from 2017 to 2019, but after the process of sexual transformation and undergoing the required hormonal treatment, she participated in the women’s team this season.

Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win an elite title in the United States when she beat Olympic silver medalist Emma Wyant in the 500 meters freestyle in Atlanta last March.

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