Aussie swim great Kieren Perkins warns of ‘human carnage’ following FINA’s new transgender policy
Australian swimming great Kieren Perkins has warned of possible ‘human massacre’ at community sports level after FINA – the world governing body – banned transgender participants from women’s sports this week as part of their new global policy.
Perkins, 48, who is now CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, said he supported FINA’s move “somewhat” but questioned whether sports organizations below the elite level will apply the same rules.
“The reality is that the Save Women’s Sport movement, which suggests that women’s sport is about to disappear because of a wave of transgender athletes, is incredibly false,” he told SEN Radio.
“But on the other hand, that there must be unrelenting, open competition for whatever gender you identify, is obviously going too far and misses the fairness argument around speed, strength and stamina.”
Perkins, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, went on to call out what he believes is a lack of transparency on the part of FINA.
Australian swimming great Kieren Perkins has warned of possible ‘human massacre’ at community sports level after FINA banned transgender participants from women’s sports this week as part of their new global policy (pictured, with wife Karen)
Perkins also stated that he feels sorry for transgender athletes such as American star athlete Lia Thomas, who in his eyes are “incredibly misunderstood.”
“FINA has been clear in their dialogue that they are talking about a very small microcosm, namely elite (sports),” he continued.
“What they’ve missed in recognizing that this is the billboard for sports, the main focus, and I’m very concerned that domestic leagues will accept that ruling and continue with it, regardless of the human carnage it causes in their local, domestic level.
‘I read that FINA has proved it about ‘science’. What evidence?
“Everything I’ve seen suggests we don’t really know for sure yet. When you talk to medical professionals who deal directly with this environment, there is no clarity without compromise with the science of it all.”
Australia currently has no elite transgender swimmers, with American college swimmer Lia Thomas seemingly the main reason for the FINA ruling.
Perkins also said he feels sorry for transgender athletes, who he says are “incredibly misunderstood.”
“What has deeply disappointed me in this dialogue is that we are having a very vociferous and extreme debate here about a section of society that is incredibly marginalized, incredibly misunderstood and already suffering from significant cases of mental health and suicide,” he said. .
Former Olympic swimmer Maddie Groves strongly opposed FINA’s ruling on transgender athletes
“FINA made this decision based on the fact that it looks like there could be one athlete in the whole world who could potentially get there. Meanwhile, transgender participation in sports ranks among the lowest of all sports demographics rated in Australia.
‘Now that the first stone has fallen, we can have that conversation again at a national level about how we are going to tackle this. I hope swimming in Australia can appeal to the community as a whole. At this point, with what FINA has announced, I don’t think they (FINA) are completely out of it yet.”
Fellow swimmers Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm supported FINA’s decision, but ex-Olympic swimmer Maddie Groves strongly opposed the ruling.
“I hope that young girls around the world can continue to dream of becoming Olympic and world champions in a female category that prioritizes the competitive cornerstone of fairness,” said Campbell.
“However, it is also my hope that a young child of different genders can walk into a swimming club and feel the same level of acceptance as a nine-year-old immigrant child from Africa all those years ago.”
Australian swimming champion Emily Seebohm backed decision to ban transgender athletes from competing against biological women
Fellow Aussie swimmer Cate Campbell said she wanted trans athletes to be part of the wider swimming community but said the ‘cornerstone of fairness’ had to be maintained
Groves replied to Campbell on Twitter, “So you forbid them to compete with their peers? Are you okay with excluding an already marginalized group? Really accept.
“There are already gender-diverse people in the swim and I suspect they don’t feel very accepted (at the moment). Shame on anyone who supports this discriminatory and unscientific decision.’
Rugby league this week also banned transgender athletes at NRL and NRLW levels, while Rugby Australia has a 12-step procedure for transgender players wishing to play in community-level competitions.
Football NSW told the Sydney Morning Herald that formal policies on transgender, intersex and non-binary participation are being refined, with their current position to ‘facilitate participation based on the gender the person identifies with’.