Swimming Federation Tells Men to Stay in Their Lanes
Three weeks into Pride Month’s suffocating deluge, the LGBT agenda is getting a rare reality check. In a gutsy move Sunday, the governing body of international swimming, FINA, decided to interrupt the global parade with a stunning rebuke of every rainbow the sports world is flying. Starting this week, biological men will be banned from competing against women at federation events, the group announced, unless they’ve transitioned before age 12 when the changes are less likely to give them a competitive edge. “We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete,” FINA agreed, “but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events…”
In a landslide vote, 71.5 percent of FINA’s members threw their support behind the “gender inclusion policy,” which tries to inject some common sense into a sport rocked by Lia Thomas. Association president Husain Al-Musallam didn’t mince words, saying straight-forwardly that the organization heard from experts across the scientific, medical, legal, and human rights fields. By the time the working group presented their findings, the consensus was overwhelming.
“FINA will always welcome every athlete,” Al-Musallam insisted, but not at the expense of parity. If men who identify as women want to compete, FINA thinks the best solution is a separate “open category,” where anyone could swim at “an elite level.” Acknowledging that “this has not been done before,” FINA offers to “lead the way” with a six-month study on how the idea could be implemented into meets. Meanwhile, the message from the swimming community is clear: We will not stand by and let radical gender ideology destroy women’s sports.
But according to Thomas, the controversial University of Pennsylvania swimmer, “trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.” Tell that to the more than two dozen athletes who’ve been knocked off the top podium over the last 19 years. Earlier this month, The Washington Stand calculated that biological men have won 28 women’s sports titles just since 2003.
Now, thanks to Red Bull’s latest skateboarding competition, that number (which doesn’t account for all of the second-, third- and qualifying placements that were affected) is up to 29. And like everyone else who’s been robbed of titles, prize money, and scholarships, second-place finisher Taylor Silverman is done being quiet.
“I have been in three different contests with trans women,” she posted on Instagram, “two of which I placed second.” “At the last contest series I did for Red Bull, I placed second. The trans competitor who won took $1,000 in qualifiers, $3,000 in finals, and $1,000 in best trick,” she said. “This totaled $5,000 in prize money meant for female athletes. … A biological man with a clear advantage won the women’s division, best trick, and also won multiple qualifiers. … What happened was unfair and at the time I was too uncomfortable to speak up.”
But she isn’t uncomfortable anymore. Silverman — like so many women who’ve been kicked off of medal stands — is ready to fight. “I deserved to place first, be acknowledged for my win, and get paid,” she argued. Instead, she complained to Red Bull and was ignored. For most athletes watching the sports they love crumble, silence is no longer an option. “I am sick of being bullied ...” she said.
And while the public tide turns even fiercer against the Democrats’ transgender extremism, Joe Biden refuses to let up. A handful of days before the country celebrates 50 years of Title IX — the law that gave our daughters equal opportunities in sports — the president seems ready to erase the last half-century, chasing a woke fanaticism that will undo everything women have fought for.
“You’d think that Democrats facing difficult races in 2022 and beyond would be doing everything they could to distance themselves from their party’s national image on social issues,” Nate Hochman mused. But “[e]ven in the face of a coming red wave, the party has continued to double down on the deeply unpopular Left-wing cultural ideology that has captured the imagination of its activist class.”
While Biden tries to shove America’s daughters to the side, the swimming world isn’t the only sport taking aggressive action. The International Cycling Union (UCI) just beefed up its testosterone rules to try to mitigate the edge of biological men in women’s races. “Given the important role played by muscle strength and power in cycling performance, the UCI has decided to increase the transition period on low testosterone from 12 to 24 months,” the governing body announce last week.
Of course, the unfortunate reality, scientists point out, is that you can’t undo the impact of puberty. Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic physiologist, says that after ages 11 and 12, girls and boys who swim start to “diverge” when their bodies truly begin to change. Just because an athlete is taking testosterone suppressants, he told the Washington Post, “doesn’t negate the hormonal impact of puberty.” That kind of strength doesn’t disappear overnight — nor does greater lung capacity, bone density, accumulated muscle mass, circulatory system, and any number of the other known genetic advantages of men over women, former USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen argues.
Almost 20 states have come to that same conclusion, racing to stop the wave of transgender turmoil from destroying their level playing fields. And as the entire sports community tries to grapple with this brave new world, expect more drastic measures like FINA’s. As one teammate of Thomas’s pointed out, when Lia was asked about “fairness” in her GMA interview, he replied, “Well, I’m happy.” … “What about everyone else’s happiness? What about mine? What about my teammates? … To not even acknowledge how other girls might feel, it’s selfish and disgusting.” And it’s time for everyone who claims to care about women to stand up and do something about it.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.