Ian Thorpe slams FINA transgender ban from women’s sports

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Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe has hit out at the sport’s governing body FINA for its decision to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s events.

FINA has currently banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s races unless they’ve transitioned prior to the age of 12. 

While the ruling, made last June, was applauded by some of Australia’s women’s swimming stars such as Tokyo gold medallists Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm, Thorpe, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, said he was “personally opposed” to FINA’s position.

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“I am for fairness in sport, but I’m also for equality in sport. And in this instance, they’ve actually got it wrong,” he told reporters.

Thorpe labelled FINA’s decision a “temporary solution” and said concerns about transgender children in sport were “bizarre”.

”When it comes to the elite level, there needs to be a sensible conversation which includes endocrinologists, psychologists, physiologists – everyone that actually may have an opinion in this space,” he said.

“If someone is complaining about someone who is trans when they happen to be 10 years of age, it is bizarre. I can almost promise you that child will not be competing at an adult stage.”

Thorpe has become an advocate for LGBTQI groups since ending his swimming career, and has called for protection of the transgender community, who he calls “some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people” in Australia.

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