Last week, world swimming's governing body, FINA, banned transgender athletes who haven't transitioned before the age of 12 from competing in the female category in sports under their jurisdiction at the elite level.
Essentially, it's a ban of all trans women assigned male at birth. Even though some trans children do socially transition at a young age, they still need to experience the early onset of male puberty before taking puberty blockers.
Instead, FINA set up an open category. How that works is anyone's guess?
Watch In His Shoes: Transitioning Into Jess. Post continues after video.
Other than trans woman swimmer Lia Thomas, who won a National Collegiate (NCAA) Division 1 title over 500 yards in freestyle in the United States earlier this year, there’s no other out trans woman competing in elite swimming.
Seventy one per cent of FINA's members voted for the blanket ban after hearing from their working group. Australia’s Cate Campbell and the United States' Summer Sanders are the only two swimmers who were identified as advising FINA. Not one trans person, including Thomas, was present at the working group discussions.
It didn't matter to FINA that Thomas was now swimming over 15 seconds slower than her personal best time she set pre-transition in 2019. Her winning time was 9.18 seconds slower than US Olympic champion Katie Ledecky's NCAA record time. I can only conclude that evidence was based on people's assumptions and opinions and it appears they penalised Thomas for not passing their "looking female enough test".
The day after FINA's announcement, International Rugby League (IRL) announced a blanket ban for trans women, which means trans women are not allowed to play at this year's World Cup in England.
I'm a trans woman rugby union/rugby league player who's played at a high level. My story recently gained media attention when the NRLW were considering if trans players can play alongside them. But I was never consulted by the IRL. Once again, it sends the message that trans players have no right to be at the table to make decisions that directly affect them.