The influential World Swimming Coaches Association is proposing a separate competition for transgender swimmers.
The proposal comes in the wake of a multitude of controversies that have developed in recent months where male athletes purport to be female, and insist on competing against women.
One prominent example is University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who swept to multiple victories as a woman when he was only an also-ran competitor as a male.
The WSCA said its board considered various options and ultimately adopted with “clear preference” an option for men to compete against men, women to compete against women and transgenders to compete against transgenders.
A report in Decision Magazine pointed out the association found, “Competitive fairness cannot be reconciled with self-identification into the female category in a gender-affected sport such as swimming. The average differences in strength, stamina and physique between the sexes is significant. Transgender females are, on average, likely to retain physical advantages listed above even if testosterone suppression is utilized.
“If we want to protect female sports, grow our sport and create fair competitions, there is a strong argument that we need to follow the path of history and create a new division for such Trans athletes,” the association concluded.
Decision explained, “Thomas, a biological male, shattered record after record this year during his first season as a member of UPenn’s women’s swimming team. He previously competed on UPenn’s men’s swim team for three years before ‘transitioning’ to a female.”
Decision reported: “University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who tied with Thomas for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA swimming championships in March, applauded WSCA’s call for a separate division for transgender athletes, as well as USA Swimming’s change in policy requiring transgender women competing at elite levels to have low testosterone for 36 months. However, she believes there is more to be done.”
In fact, she told Fox News, “I think the decision ultimately lies in these bigger organizations like the NCAA, like FINA and like the IOC (International Olympic Committee) … How many small governing bodies is it going to take before these bigger organizations listen?”
The association statement said, “The inclusion of transgender people into female sport cannot be balanced with fairness due to the retained differences in strength, stamina and physique that are present when comparing the average female with the average transgender female/non-binary person who was assigned male at birth (whether with or without the involvement of testosterone suppression). This is the primary factor to be considered in an endeavour to balance fairness with inclusion.”
The group is dedicated to having all people participate, and it said categorization through birth sex “remains to be the most useful and functional division relative to sporting performance.”
It added, “Categorization by sex is lawful, and hence the requirement to request information relating to birth sex is appropriate. No individual is compelled to provide any information to a sports organization. However, failure to provide such information should mean that that person would not be able to compete in the category of their choice. The sport of swimming should therefore provide options for those people who prefer not to advise of their sex or gender.”
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