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FINA transgender: Katherine Deves speaks out about the decision to BAN trans athletes

Controversial former Liberal candidate Katherine Deves says the FINA’s trans policy announcement is a “justification” for all those against allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s competitions.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced on Sunday that it is changing its policy to allow transgender women to compete in the organization’s female races only if they have completed their transition by age 12.

Instead, an “open category” will be set up for transgender athletes to compete against each other in events including the World Aquatics Championships, World Swimming Championships and World Swimming Cup.

Four-time Olympian Emily Seebohm was one of the first to add support to the policy, saying she was “100 percent relieved” that female swimmers didn’t have to compete against transgender athletes.

On Monday evening, Ms Deves told Sky News it was a ‘victory’ but called for even tougher measures.

“This is absolutely justification and a victory for women like me, women around the world who have been advocating for this issue for years,” she said.

Ms Deves was heavily criticized in the May election after old tweets were exposed using extreme and transphobic language – with the topic dominating the headlines in the battle for Warringah.

She eventually lost to Zali Steggall, despite being picked for the candidacy by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, but stuck to her views.

On Monday, Ms Deves said she was motivated to fight for what she claims is the “majority” of women and parents who do not want trans athletes to practice women’s sports.

“My concern has always been women and girls,” she told Sky.

“And as we’ve seen, if you have a consultation process and it’s transparent and impartial, and we include the voices of the women who are affected, we end up with an overwhelming consensus.”

Ms Deves said she wanted sports organizations around the world to follow suit, even calling for tougher action on the age limit of 12 for transferring athletes.

“I’d say it doesn’t go far enough. They say that if guys start transitioning before age 12, they should be able to compete. I disagree, men and boys have the benefit of testosterone that started in the womb,” she said.

Controversial Former Liberal Candidate Katherine Deves Says FINA's Trans Policy Announcement Is 'Justification'

Controversial Former Liberal Candidate Katherine Deves Says FINA’s Trans Policy Announcement Is ‘Justification’

“I don’t think it goes far enough, but I would like to see this policy adopted by other international federations and our own federations.

“They have not taken into account the voices of Olympians, female athletes, parents, down to the local level. I think our sports bureaucrats should take a closer look.’

On Monday, Emily Seebohm admitted she had been afraid to speak out on the matter, but she was relieved that FINA came to the conclusion that they did.

The four-time Olympian said she was happy that a decision had finally been made, adding that many athletes were too scared to talk about it.

“It’s such a difficult subject, nobody wants to be the first to say something because you’re afraid of canceling culture,” she told The Today Show Monday morning.

‘Now that’s something, if you say one thing wrong, you’re done.

“It was a matter of an Australian athlete saying something. It was like standing together because we all feel the same, but we were all too scared to be the first to say something.”

Australian swimming champion Emily Seebohm backed decision to ban transgender athletes from competing against biological women

Australian swimming champion Emily Seebohm backed decision to ban transgender athletes from competing against biological women

When asked by co-host Ally Langdon if she was relieved by FINA’s decision, Seebohm said “100 per cent”, adding that she wanted the sport to be inclusive for everyone.

“It makes it easier for the athletes to know what’s going on, what the competition is going to be like and that the sport can stay fair and include everyone,” said the swimmer.

“I think there will probably be people who will be upset about this decision, but it has been taken by the majority of people.”

Fellow Aussie swimmer Cate Campbell also supported the decision, saying in an impassioned speech ‘without fair competition, sport, in the elite sense, would cease to exist’.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced on Sunday that it is changing its policy to allow transgender women to compete in the organization's women's races only if they complete their transition at age 12 (pictured is trans swimmer Lia Thomas)

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced on Sunday that it is changing its policy to allow transgender women to compete in the organization’s women’s races only if they complete their transition at age 12 (pictured is trans swimmer Lia Thomas)

Campbell said she wanted trans athletes to be part of the wider swimming community, but said the “cornerstone of fairness” must be maintained.

“And it pains me that this part of my role can hurt, infuriate and potentially alienate people from an already marginalized (transgender) community,” she said.

‘There is no question that men and women are physiologically different.

“Women, who have fought long and hard to be included in the sport and seen as equals, can only do so because of the distinction between men and women.

“Removing that distinction would be to the detriment of female athletes everywhere.”

But not everyone agreed, with Australian Olympian Maddie Groves backtracking on Campbell’s comments, saying she hoped a child of different genders would feel accepted in the sport.

“So you forbid them to compete with their peers? Are you okay with excluding an already marginalized group? Really accept,” Groves tweeted in response.

“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.’

Groves, who has won two Olympic silver medals, withdrew from selection trials for last year’s Tokyo Games, citing a culture of misogyny in swimming.

Former Aussie swimmer Maddie Groves denounced the decision to ban transgender athletes from competing, saying 'Shame to everyone' who supported it

Former Aussie swimmer Maddie Groves denounced the decision to ban transgender athletes from competing, saying ‘Shame to everyone’ who supported it

FINA will work over the next six months to determine how the open category will work.

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

The decision means American trans swimmer Lia Thomas, 23, will not be able to race against women, after she broke records and sparked a heated debate over whether or not to allow trans athletes to compete. .

Thomas made the switch in 2019 while competing at the University of Pennsylvania, and began to dominate her competition in freestyle events — leading many to complain that she has an unfair physical advantage.

Ben Fordham also weighed in on the decision on Monday, saying there was finally some ‘common sense’.

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

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

The 2GB host said that if Thomas had been allowed to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus “would probably have been beaten”.

“This isn’t about excluding people, it’s about fairness,” he said on his breakfast show, noting that prominent trans figure Caitlyn Jenner also labeled the case unfair.

“It takes a lot of homework to figure out how this is going to work, but it’s a start.”

FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said: ‘We need to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also need to protect competitive fairness in our events, especially the women’s category in FINA competitions.’

The decision to bar transgender athletes from FINA events was taken at the federation’s extraordinary general congress while the world championships are taking place in Budapest.

Members of the organization learned of a transgender task force composed of leading medical, legal and sports figures, who first met to discuss the issue after the International Olympic Committee urged individual sports federations in November to establish guidelines for transgender athletes.

Lia Thomas has broken a number of records in women's swimming for the NCAA

Lia Thomas has broken a number of records in women’s swimming for the NCAA

The policy was passed by a 71 percent majority after it was presented to members of 152 voting national federations gathered for Congress at the Puskas Arena.

About 15 percent voted no to the eligibility policy in the men’s and women’s competition categories, while 13 percent abstained.

“I don’t want an athlete to be told they can’t compete at the highest level,” Al-Musallam said at a conference of his organization today.

“I’m going to set up a working group to set up an open category at our meetings.

“We’ll be the first federation to do that.”

Last month, Thomas shook off worries about her seemingly unfair advantage.

She said some ‘cisgender’ women – a term used to describe someone whose gender identity is the same as the one they were given at birth – have more testosterone, have bigger hands and feet, and are taller than her competitors.

Thomas also insisted that she not transition to outperform in the pool.

‘Transgenders don’t switch to athletics. We’re about to be happy and authentic and be ourselves,” she said.

“Transitioning to gain an advantage is not something that plays into our decisions,” she said.

“I don’t need anyone’s permission to be myself.”

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