Sports

Global Sports Authority Incentivizes Child Sex Changes With New Transgender Policy

(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The international governing body for competitive swimming, FINA, is facing criticism for a new policy that could incentivize children to pursue sex changes.

FINA’s new gender inclusion policy, enacted Sunday, requires transgender competitors who wish to compete in women’s events to have transitioned by age 12. 71.5% of FINA members voted in favor of the new policy, which will also apply to collegiate competitions sanctioned by the NCAA.

Voices on both sides of the transgender athlete debate criticized the new policy. LGBT rights advocates said the policy was effectively a ban on transgender women from competing in women’s events. Proponents claimed the policy was long past due, because biological men who transitioned to being female after beginning puberty have a competitive advantage over biological women also competing.

Some observers pointed out that the policy could incentivize young children to pursue sex changes before age 12. If transitioning by age 12 is a prerequisite for competing as a woman, a child suffering from gender dysphoria may believe they must rush to begin puberty blockers or other treatments to preserve their athletic career, some critics argued. (RELATED: White House Refuses To Weigh In On Biological Men Competing In Women’s Sports)

FINA denied that the policy would encourage young children to transition and also proposed adding an open competition category in the future. “This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12. It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair,” James Pearce, a spokesman for FINA’s president, said.

“They’re not saying everyone should transition by age 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition by that age in most countries and hopefully you wouldn’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”