World Aquatics Announces ‘Open Category’ to Solve Trans Athlete Controversy

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The international swimming federation, World Aquatics, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering water sport competitions, has announced that they will be setting up an “open category” for transgender swimmers. According to CBN News, the plans were announced one year ago, and the federation is following through with their promise as the details of the first trial of the category are being worked out. 

World Aquatics initially banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s major swim events, such as the Olympics and world championships, to protect fairness in the competition. The decision to create an open category came after the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) urged World Aquatics to “create a separate division due to men’s physiological dominance over female athletes and to ensure fairness.”


For the past few years, women have been fighting for fairness in their sports as biological males have been dominating competitions, leaving many champion female swimmers at a loss for future opportunities that come with winning competitions. One of the most known cases in which a biological male took first place in a female competition was transgender athlete Lia Thomas who competed for three seasons as Will Thomas at the University of Pennsylvania, until he switched to compete on the women’s team last fall. Thomas had begun hormone replacement therapy in May of 2019 to decrease his testosterone levels. 

Swimming is not the only sport that has seen controversy erupt over what many have seen as unfair competitions. The World Boxing Council has also taken action banning transgender athletes from competing in the sport to ensure boxing matches would only be between “two equally matched competitors.” Leaders of these sports argue that unfair competitions between athletes that are unequally matched poses serious safety risks and gives an unfair advantage to some athletes over others.


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