FINA’s New Transgender Policy Faces Backlash


The International Swimming Federation has approved a new regulation prohibiting most transgender athletes from competing in top women’s aquatics competitions.

The new “gender inclusiveness” policy was accepted by FINA’s international governing body on Sunday after 71.5 percent of FINA’s member federations voted in favor at the FINA Extraordinary General Congress 2022.

According to the new gender inclusivity policy, male-to-female transgender athletes will only be able to compete in FINA events in the women’s divisions if they change before the age of twelve or before reaching stage two on the Tanner Scale of puberty.

FINA Will Allow Transgender Athletes To Participate

Athletes who have used testosterone as part of female-to-male gender-affirming hormone therapy will only be allowed to compete in women’s tournaments if the testosterone was taken for just under a year in total, and the treatment did not occur during puberty, and testosterone levels in serum have returned to pre-treatment levels. On June 20, 2022, the policy will take effect.

It has announced that it will form a new working group to design open category competitions for athletes who do not fulfill the governing body’s qualifying standards for men’s or women’s divisions as a result of the decision.

Swimming, open water swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming, and high diving are all overseen by FINA. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued its Framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination based on Gender Identity and Sex Variations in November 2021. It stated that no athlete should be disqualified from competition based on the assumption of a gender advantage, and rejected the notion that a testosterone proxy was sufficient to disqualify a woman from the women’s category.

The International Federation of Sports Medicine and the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations published a joint position statement contesting sections of the IOC’s position a few months later, in January 2022.