Nadine Dorries urges other sports to follow swimming after transgender athlete ban: 'It's just unacceptable'

The Culture Secretary has urged other sports to follow the example of swimming's governing body after the move to bar trans athletes from women's events

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Swimming’s world governing body FINA barred transgender athletes who have gone through puberty from competing in women’s events.

FINA announced the decision after a congress in Budapest, Hungary.

It will also look to set up an open competition category in which athletes can compete irrespective of their sex or gender identity.

Ms Dorries welcomed the move, saying she is already in the process of bringing together other sporting leaders as she looks to establish similar parameters across the board.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries
Lia Thomas will be ineligible to compete in the women’s category after the ruling
Lia Thomas will be ineligible to compete in the women’s category after the ruling

Having dubbed FINA's ruling “absolutely the right decision”, she said: “I have been of the opinion that FINA came to today for a long time and have discussed this with my own department and established a policy.

“We’re about to have a round table with all of the sports’ governing bodies."

She told LBC Radio: "It is just unacceptable that trans women compete in women’s sport.”

The move means Lia Thomas, who became the first transgender swimmer to win a major US national college title in March, will be ineligible to compete in the women’s category.

FINA’s announcement comes two weeks after cycling’s governing body, the UCI, voted to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete.

FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said: “We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.”

FINA’s 34-page policy document clarifies that male-to-female transgender athletes are still eligible to compete in the women’s category “provided they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 [which marks the start of physical development], or before age 12, whichever is later”.

Female-to-male transgender athletes will be eligible to compete in male categories, but in the sports of high diving and water polo they will be required to submit an ‘assumption of risk’ form, and are advised to seek advice on their physical capability.

Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who has led a vocal campaign against transgender athletes being able to compete in women’s sport, also welcomed FINA’s announcement.

She wrote on social media: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females.

“Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”