The world’s swimming governing body made an important ruling over the weekend, saying they have banned transgender women from competing in women’s events.
This will stop an athlete like Lia Thomas from barnstorming her way through female competition that she could dominate as a man transitioning to a woman. Thomas was a collegiate swimmer at Penn who defeated her events and won a national championship in the 500-yard freestyle, thanks in large part to her massive size and strength, which gave her an advantage any person with common sense could visibly see.
The new rule is that an athlete would have to have started to transition by the age of 12.
James Pearce is the spokesperson for Husain Al-Musallam, the president of FINA.
“This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12. 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 you 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.”
While Thomas did dominate lower-level college competition and then the event that required the most stamina and strength in the NCAA championships, no transgender women are competing in elite levels of swimming.