Transgender Athletes: World Aquatics Adopts ‘Open’ Category for Swimming Competitions


Competitors whose gender differs from their birth sex, including transgender athletes, participate in elite-level competitions. World Aquatics, the international governing body for swimming announced on July 25, it will be introducing an “Open” category for swimming events. 

In recent years, the topic of transgender athletes in school sports has sparked intense discussions. Over 20 states have approved legislation specifically targeting transgender girls and women athletes. 

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Transgender athletes 

The International Swimming Federation (FINA), which governs aquatic competitions worldwide, responded to the challenges posed by transgender athletes by enacting a new policy in June 2022.

 This policy stipulates that transgender swimmers must complete their transition before the age of 12 to be eligible for competing in women’s events. The governing body cited scientific evidence suggesting that transitioning after the start of puberty could provide an advantage.