The topic of transgender athletes in sports has been a highly debated one, with many sports leagues and governing bodies reevaluating their regulations to either accommodate or restrict transgender athletes. World Aquatics, swimming’s governing body, made a big decision on Thursday regarding which category transgender athletes will be able to compete in.
The governing body made the controversial decision last year to restrict transgender athletes from competing in women’s aquatics competitions. But transgender athletes will now have a category to compete in moving forward.
According to CNN, World Aquatics has officially created an open category for transgender athletes at a World Cup event in Berlin in October.
They also issued a statement to CNN, detailing that this decision speaks to their “unwavering commitment to inclusivity”.
“This pioneering pilot project highlights the organization’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity,” a statement from World Aquatics read. “For this inaugural event, the emphasis is on gaining further experience for future development and celebrating diversity.”
It seems like the World Cup’s host in Berlin is certainly pleased with this decision. Kai Morgenroth, vice president of the German swimming federation hosting the event, issued a statement on the decision.
“We’re proud to host an event where swimmers can compete without barriers,” Morgenroth said.
The topic of transgender athletes in the sport of swimming gained traction back in 2020 in large part thanks to University of Penn swimmer Lia Thomas. Thomas began her collegiate swimming career on the Men’s swimming team for UPenn before her transition in 2019, and joined the Women’s team in 2020.