Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley has slammed FINA and their recent ban on transgender athletes.
On 19 June, the world’s swimming governing body announced its new “gender inclusion policy”.
Under the new set of rules, trans women who transition after the age of 12 would be effectively banned from competing in events.
FINA also revealed that a “working group” is set to create an “open category” for trans athletes to compete in certain events.
“This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12,”James Pearce, the spokesperson for FINA president Husain Al-Musallam, told the Associated Press.
“It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair. 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 wouldn’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”
Since the ban was announced, an array of LGBTQ+ activists and athletes have come out and slammed the organisation’s decision.
While attending the 2022 British LGBT Awards, Daley told the i that he was “furious” when he heard of the news.
“You know, like most queer people, anyone that’s told that they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on,” he said.
“It’s something I feel really strongly about. Giving trans people the chance to share their side.”
Alongside Daley’s recent comments, LGBTQ+ organisations have also condemned the organisation for its harmful regulations.
HRC’s Interim President, Joni Madison, stated: “This sudden and discriminatory decision is a blatant attack on transgender athletes who have worked to comply with the longstanding policies that have allowed them to participate for years with no issues.
“We urge the FINA to rethink its policy and ensure inclusion for all athletes – including transgender women – and allow them to participate in sports free from discrimination, abuse, and harassment.”
Director of policy and programmes at Athlete Ally, Anne Lieberman, echoed similar sentiments in her own statement.
“FINA’s new eligibility criteria for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations is deeply discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 International Olympic Committee framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations,” Lieberman said via NBC Sports.