We are both saddened and angered by FINA’s recently published policy update. Regardless of intent, this sends the message that trans and non-binary people, already marginalised across all sports, are not welcome in swimming or other aquatic sports.
While the new policy increases the difficulty all trans participants will face, we are particularly concerned it will not only disproportionately exclude trans women to the point where it will be almost impossible for them to participate but is worded to suggest that they may deliberately manipulate their hormone levels to gain unfair advantages. Any such suggestion is deeply hurtful and unsupported by any evidence we have seen.
Comparative physiology of trans and cis individuals is still poorly understood yet is frequently cited in defence of exclusionary policies. In the interests of transparency, we ask that FINA publish the scientific guidance they sought in drafting this new policy so that it can be independently reviewed and assessed.
There are already significant barriers to trans people participating in sport, including purely for recreation. Blanket policies will not help to address that and we believe there are better ways to address concerns around competitive fairness.