Laura Jane Grace’s comments on a debate about transgender athletes

Earlier this week, FINA, the world’s leading swimming authority, voted with 71 percent approval that transgender women must have passed before the age of 12 to compete in women’s swimming competitions, which essentially poses significant barriers to Trans women to compete in swimming competitions. The move sparked much discussion in the days that followed, and Laura Jane Grace, vocalist of Against Me !, offered her opinion on transgender athletes in sports through social media.

The topic of transgender women in swimming came to the fore earlier this year when Pennsylvania University swimmer Leah Thomas won the NCAA Women’s 500m freestyle title, becoming the first transgender woman to win an NCAA Swimming Championship. for women.

According to the policy decision shared by NPR, “Transgender women must show that they have ‘not experienced any part of male puberty after Tanner’s stage 2 or before the age of 12, whichever is later,’ a move that effectively eliminates their right to compete in the women’s category. Tanner’s stages describe the physical changes people experience during puberty. “

Referring to the “difference in performance”, FINA went on to say: “Without eligibility standards based on biological sex or gender-related traits, it is very unlikely to see biological women in finals, podiums or championship positions; and in sports and events involving collisions and shells, biological athletes would be at greater risk of injury ”as part of their updated policy.

Grace went public as transsexual in 2012 and turned to some of what she went through in 2014. Against me! album Blues of transsexual dysphoria. Speaking on the topic of transgender athletes in sport, she commented: “As a person who is transgender and also a parent, I say that if sport cannot find a way to allow everyone to be involved, play and have fun, then no one can play, give me the ball and everyone goes home. “

The statement provoked many discussions, commenting on some features concerning the hormonal requirements of athletes and the physical nature of the competition.

Grace later commented on the reaction she encountered on social media, explaining: “The list of people I have blocked or” silenced “is a manifesto at the level of the holy grail of transphobia.”

She would then go on to make her initial statement more mocking, commenting: “I don’t think anyone should be allowed to play sports. Every team must be disbanded and their stadiums destroyed. “

After the news of FINA’s decision was made public, there was dissatisfaction among many organizations about the standard it sets.

Ann Lieberman, director of policy and programs at Athlete Ally, which seeks equality in sport, called the new policy “discriminatory, harmful, unscientific” and something that contradicts the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines on transatlets.

“The eligibility criteria for the women’s category, as set out in the policy, the police on the bodies of all women, and will not be applicable without seriously violating the privacy and human rights of any athlete who wants to compete in the women’s category. category, “Lieberman said. .

The human rights campaign also called the decision “a clear attack on transgender athletes who have worked to comply with long-standing policies that allow them to participate for years without a problem.”

FINA’s new policy took effect on Monday (June 20th).

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