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World swimming’s governing body FINA ‘open category’ proposal faces questions over fairness and viability


Caitlyn Jenner, who introduced her transition from Olympic gold medallist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn in 2015, has questioned whether or not there are sufficient trans athletes to make such a system viable

Caitlyn Jenner, who introduced her transition from Olympic gold medallist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn in 2015, has questioned whether or not there are sufficient trans athletes to make such a system viable

World swimming’s governing body FINA is organising a working group to look into creating an ‘open category’ to make sure inclusivity after voting to limit transgender girls from competing in elite girls’s competitors.

But earlier than the working group has even begun to think about precisely how an open class would work, the idea has already been dismissed by trans athletes.

Details of who could be eligible to compete in an ‘open category’ and what occasions such a division would function in have but to emerge with FINA giving itself six months to formulate a plan.


“They talk about having a different division for trans athletes, there aren’t enough trans athletes in the world to have another competition. Right now, I only know of one trans swimmer and that is Lia Thomas, there are just not enough people out there. ”Caitlyn JennerRetired Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete

So far FINA has mentioned that the open class would provide alternatives for athletes “without regard to their sex, their legal gender, or their gender identity”

But Veronica Ivy, trans bike owner and twice UCI Masters world champion, mentioned the proposal was an “extreme indignity”.

“FINA’s choice to force transwomen into an ‘open’ category with cisgender men is an unethical non-starter,” she informed Reuters in an interview.

ALSO READ: Do trans-athletes have unfair benefit?

“It is the very definition of ‘separate but equal’ and an extreme indignity to the women affected. Trans women are legally, socially, and medically women; we are legally, socially, and medically female.

“We ought to race with women and international sports federations need to cease placing limits on who is ‘woman’ or ‘female’ enough,” she mentioned.

So far, the one concept floated for swimming has come from the World Swimming Coaches Association, which produced a place assertion earlier than FINA’s congress on Sunday.

“Through a re-categorisation process, the sport of swimming should offer an alternative competitive model which would ensure inclusion and fairness,” mentioned the assertion.

Although they haven’t submitted a proposal to FINA, the assertion suggests two choices.

The first is to show the boys’s class into an ‘open category’ alongside a protected ‘female category’.

The various choice is to have feminine and male classes and a 3rd open class which might enable these not eligible or not prepared to compete within the sex-based classes to enter races.

The coaches additionally prompt that the game might create a Trans Division and presumably maintain trans conferences.

“The Trans Females will race each other. The Trans Males will race each other. There is an argument that the Trans Males have been completely lost in this debate because they are uncompetitive in our current structure. This would also allow those of indeterminate gender to be factored into such a solution,” mentioned the assertion.

But Caitlyn Jenner, who introduced her transition from Olympic gold medallist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn in 2015, has questioned whether or not there are sufficient trans athletes to make such a system viable.

“They talk about having a different division for trans athletes, there aren’t enough trans athletes in the world to have another competition. Right now, I only know of one trans swimmer and that is Lia Thomas, there are just not enough people out there,” she mentioned.

Jenner prompt FINA had used the thought of an open class as a “whitewash” to melt the impression of their vote for a restrictive transfer – a transfer the American nonetheless helps.

Trans lady motor racing driver Charlie Martin is firmly in opposition to the thought.

“It is not a solution to create an open category where trans women can be placed in limbo, effectively ending their professional careers and right to compete,” she mentioned.

The difficulty is more likely to stay a contentious level of debate for a while nonetheless.

On Thursday, Badminton’s governing body turned the newest to undertake a assessment of its tips.

World Athletics and FIFA are among the many governing our bodies additionally reviewing their transgender inclusion insurance policies. 



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