Four-time gold medalist Cate Campbell has been questioned by an Australian Olympic teammate after he publicly supported the action of swimming against transgender athletes.
The governing body of sport FINAL has voted to effectively ban transgender swimmers from elite women’s competitions†
It is the first Olympic sport to pass such an edict, and the mandate receives 71.5 percent support from the 152 national federations that have voting rights.
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Campbell addressed a FINA congress in Budapest on Sunday with a pre-vote speech aimed in part at transgender swimmers.
“We see you, appreciate you and accept you,” Campbell said.
“However, my role is also to stand up here, having asked our world governing body, FINA, to examine, deliberate and uphold the cornerstone of fairness in elite women’s competition.
“And it pains me that this part of my role can hurt, infuriate and potentially alienate people from an already marginalized community.
“Believe me, I struggled long and hard with myself, with what to say and do.
“I am aware that my actions and words, whatever I say, will anger some people, whether they are from the (transgender) community or the cisgender women’s community.”
Closing out her speech, Campbell compared her family’s move to Australia when she was a child to her hopes of being transgender swimmers.
“I hope that young girls around the world can continue to dream of becoming an Olympic and world champion in a female category that prioritizes the competitive cornerstone of fairness,” she said.
“However, it is also my hope that a young child of different genders can walk into a swimming club and feel the same level of acceptance as a nine-year-old immigrant child from Africa all those years ago.”
Campbell’s closing statement was taken apart Monday by Maddie Groves, who has been on multiple Australian teams with the outspoken former world record holder.
“So you forbid them to compete with their peers?” Groves wrote in response on Twitter.
“Are you okay with excluding an already marginalized group? Really accept.
“There are already people of different genders in swimming and I suspect they don’t feel very accepted at the moment.
“Shame on anyone who supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision.”
One swimmer makes a huge difference
FINA noted that there are currently no transgender women participating in the elite swimming levels affected by the ruling.
Under the new policy, only swimmers who transition before the age of 12 are allowed to participate in women’s events.
FINA also proposed an “open competition category” with a task force to explore over the next six months how such a category could be created.
Last March, Lia Thomas made history in the United States as the first transgender woman to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming title.
Thomas previously represented her university’s men’s swim team and became a lightning rod for the sports debate.
Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender to compete in NCAA Division I swimming, said FINA policies violated US bills that sought to block people under 18 from gender-affirming health care or ban transgender children from participating in sports with their children. to do. peers.
“This is not about preserving honesty, this is not about protecting women’s sports,” he said.
“This is about trying to exclude transgender people and it continues the policing of women’s bodies in sport. It continues the degradation and exclusion of people (in the US).
“This is transphobia incarnate and it has to stop. Transgender people, especially transwomen, pose no threat to sports. Transphobia is.”
In her speech, Campbell said the FINA policy was not created on the basis of “what we thought was the right thing to do”.
“The policy was created with the inclusion of medical professionals, legal professionals, athletes, coaches and people from the transgender community,” she said.
“It is a policy that pays attention to inclusion, but puts fairness first. In the end, it’s not about winners and losers.
“It’s about researching and developing policies that accurately reflect the science and draw a line to protect the fairness of the distinction between female categories in elite sport.”
– with AAP
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