World Swimming has a different set of policies for its athletes and some of them may sound senseless to us common folk, while others are a tad more rational and understandable. For example, the governing body had the “age policy” that was widely controversial and states that all athletes who want to compete in any kind of game should have hit puberty.
For that, they have set the age of 12 as an ideal one. But the exception is if an athlete hits puberty before the age of 12, he, or she can, compete in the games on a professional level. It is pertinent to mention here that it is scientifically possible that one can have transitioned before the age of 12. And there is a lot of scientific proof and evidence that shows that puberty is possible before the age of 12.
It was James Pearce, the spokesperson for FINA, who made public remarks about the age policy. “We are not saying that you should hit puberty before the age of 12,” James said. “It is just a milestone. Science has proven that some individuals can hit puberty at 10 or 11. And that is an advantage. We are by no means forcing our athletes that they should be transitioned prior to the standard age.”
The New “Gender Inclusion Policy” of FINA Bans Transgender Athletes
However, this age policy is pretty straightforward for male and female athletes. But it is pretty complicated for transgender women. According to the World Professional Organization for Transgender have the age of 14 to 17 for gender transition. This means that transgender athletes can not determine or change their gender prior to the age of either 14 or 15. For some surgeries, the age has to be 17.
On June 19th, 2022, FINA released a detailed set of policies ahead of the kicking off of the match. The swimming competition is all set to kick off on Monday. Ahead of the big opening, FINA released a 24-page-long policy including a “gender inclusion policy.”
The spokesperson asserted that the decision of excluding transgender is a unanimously agreed decision of the federation. However, the spokesperson also confirmed that this policy is not limited to only swimming. Instead, it is applicable to all major women’s events and games.
An Open Category of Games is Expected to Follow the Latest Gender Inclusion Policy
While the decision is widely criticized by transgender fans, there is a silver lining. The spokesperson hinted that an open category of games and events is likely to be organized later this year.
“As we speak ahead of the big opening, I am not sure what will this look like,” James asserted. “However, I am pretty certain that this open category will include transgender athletes in the upcoming games. It would be ahead of time to speak about it, let’s wait until an official announcement (from FINA) comes out.”