Caitlyn Jenner backs FINA ban on trans swimmers like Lia Thomas: 'Don't take medals away from females'
Retired Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete Caitlyn Jenner has reacted in favor of the announcement made by FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) that transgender women like Lia Thomas will be banned from competing in women's swimming events. The governing body took the call on June 19 after it adopted a new gender inclusion policy that only permits swimmers who transitioned before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events. The organization also proposed an "open competition category."
Caitlyn Jenner responded to the announcement by tweeting, “It worked! I took a lot of heat - but what’s fair is fair! If you go through male puberty you should not be able to take medals away from females. Period." Australian Olympic gold medallist Emily Seebohm too welcomed FINA’s decision, saying the sport could now move on with certainty. "I’m finally happy that we have a decision, and we know where the sport’s going and what we’re going to be doing,” she told Sky News. On the other hand, Athlete Ally, an advocacy group for LGBTQI+, has condemned the decision.
In a statement, Athlete Ally said, "FINA’s new eligibility criteria for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations is discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles. If we truly want to protect women’s sports, we must include all women."
It worked! I took a lot of heat - but what’s fair is fair! If you go through male puberty you should not be able to take medals away from females. Period. https://t.co/qqZq7gnt6g— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 19, 2022
FINA’s new eligibility criteria for transgender athletes and athletes with intersex variations is discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles. If we truly want to protect women’s sports, we must include all women. https://t.co/MDjrWB6GrU— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) June 19, 2022
As reported by SMH, four-time Olympic champion Cate Campbell told FINA’s extraordinary general congress (EGC) that she supported a restriction on transgender athletes competing in women’s categories and urged people to “listen to the science and experts.” “Women, who have fought long and hard to be included and seen as equals in sport, can only do so because of the gender category distinction,” Campbell said before delegates voted in favor of the ban.
Madeline Groves, a former national champion who won a butterfly silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, objected to the decision. She said, "You’re okay with ostracising an already marginalised group? Real accepting. Shame on everyone that supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision.”
Caitlyn's statements on Lia Thomas
Thomas became the first-ever transgender NCAA Division I champion after winning the women's 500-yard freestyle in March this year. Her appearance at the championships had generated protests and outrage from all corners. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Jenner took aim at the University of Pennsylvania swimmer. “I don’t think biological boys should compete in women’s sports – we have to protect women’s sports… that’s the bottom line”, the former Olympian said. She also stated later on in the discussion that she supports Thomas’ journey, saying that she’d “love to [...] talk privately to her about the issue of sport."
She also stated to Fox News' Sean Hannity, "I've never been against Lia Thomas, she actually played within the rules. Was it fair? No, it wasn't fair, it's not a fair fight. But she played within the rules." She further said, "The problem is the NCAA and the rules. They really need to take a serious look about what's happening in women's sports. And they have to make it fair."
"I have been from the beginning out to protect women's sports. I haven't been out to protect transgender athletes, but this is not an easy—it's a tough subject. There's no one answer that fits everything," she added.