feminism,  Sports

Battles on the Trans Front

On Sunday, the international swimming federation, FINA, voted decisively to protect women’s sport.

Transwomen swimmers are only allowed to participate in elite women’s competitions if  “they can establish to FINA’s comfortable satisfaction that they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 (of puberty) or before age 12, whichever is later”. There is a further stipulation that they must continuously maintain their testosterone levels in serum (or plasma) below 2.5 nmol/L.   This is the strictest restriction of any world sports governing body and was reached on the advice of a comprehensive study commission comprising medical, legal and sports figures (including transgender athletes and coaches). FINA also promised to look into an open category where transwomen can compete. FINA showed clear direction and compassion on intersex athletes

Fina’s approach in drafting this policy was comprehensive, science-based and inclusive, and, importantly, Fina’s approach emphasised competitive fairness,” said Brent Nowicki, the governing body’s executive director.

The majority reaction is relief that  adults appear to be back in the room but there were predictably loud howls of outrage from those invested in ideological warfare. The FINA ruling was attacked as an outright assault on human rights and even the fact that it was announced in Hungary was treated with extreme suspicion. These activists, always on the right side of history™, had quietly and without much public scrutiny, swayed the IOC into making sweeping concessions to trans participation in the last few years.

The IOC’s  Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations (issued in Nov 2021), saying no athlete should be excluded from competition on the assumption of an advantage due to their gender and rejecting the notion that a testosterone proxy was enough to be excluded from the women’s category, has been widely challenged. The International Federation of Sports Medicine and the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations issued a joint position statement disputing parts of the IOC’s position soon after in January 2022.  The media has played a shady role by focusing on testerone levels and  ignoring other biological advantages that transwomen athletes enjoy. The IOC allows a testosterone level that is 4 times higher than the one stipulated by FINA.

The ferocious “no-debate!” tactic of transactivism has been successful in capturing institutions. However, the voices of  champion women athletes and the optics of the likes of Lia Thomas hulking on the prize podium have forced sports bodies to study the issue much more seriously and the results are that Mother Nature is a Terf.

But Lord Coe has now revealed that World Athletics is set to discuss adopting a new eligibility policy, and welcomed Fina’s move.

“We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport,” he told BBC Sport.

“This is as it should be. We have always believed that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this. We will follow the science.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year.”

Another battle raged on the streets of Bristol  on Sunday. Kellie-Jay Keen‘s gender critical army – women of all ages, including a 12 year old girl- held a meeting which was ambushed by an aggressive anti-fa style mob. Young men in masks screaming “Die!” in women’s faces, attempting to shove them and drown out their voices while Bristol’s disgraceful police maintained a ‘both sides are allowed to protest’ equanimity.  The TRAS are their own worst enemy.