Swimming World Cup Removes Open Category for Trans Athletes Due to a Lack of Participation

(NewsSpace.com) – There’s been a long history of debate surrounding transgender people and participating in sports aligned with their specified gender. Many people have claimed it’s unfair to let biological men compete in women’s sports, for example. There have even been lawsuits to that effect. In the face of the debate, one sport took the initiative to create an “open category” for anyone to register for. However, in one event, it failed to garner any registrants.

On Tuesday, October 3, World Aquatics, the governing body for water sports around the globe, confirmed that nobody signed up for the “open category” in the Swimming World Cup held in Berlin. The category was established in August as a means of promoting inclusivity in the sport after a ruling determined men could not compete in women’s sports if they didn’t meet the criteria. One of the conditions is to have completed their transition by the age of 12.

The races that were supposed to take place under the category — the 50-meter and 100-meter — have since been canceled. World Aquatics isn’t doing away with the category, however. It said that it “is planning to look at the possibility of including Open Category races at Masters events in the future.”

Transgender women competing in women’s sports has been more of a hot-button issue since Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle event last year. The argument was that when Thomas, who was born a biological male, was competing in men’s swimming, she didn’t rank very highly. But when she joined the women’s team, she won. Many have claimed that she has an unfair advantage, despite having started hormone therapy.

Lawmakers have taken up the issue as well, trying to ban transgender athletes from participating in sports related to their chosen genders. In April, the House approved a ban, but it didn’t go further. President Joe Biden has said he would veto such a bill.

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