UK Prime Minister voices support for trans sports ban on swimming

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has once again weighed in on a controversy over transgender rights, voicing his support for the idea of ​​a ban on transgender female athletes in women’s sports competitions.

According PinkNewson June 29, while speaking to reporters at a “Commonwealth Summit” in Rwanda, Johnson gave tacit support for the International Swimming Federation (FINA) ban on trans swimmers, which prohibits any transgender woman who has undergone male puberty from competing as a woman. .

Under the new policy, released on June 19, the overwhelming majority of transgender people are expected to attend events designated for their sex assigned at birth. In the rare case where a swimmer has been placed on puberty blockers before experiencing the development of secondary sex characteristics, they must still provide documentation proving that their blood testosterone level has always remained lower – and has never fluctuated above – 2.5 nanomoles per liter since in transition.

Asked about the FINA ban, Johnson said: “I I haven’t studied it in detail, but I see no reason to disagree. He added that gender issues “raise particular issues” in terms of “the age at which you can deem him competent to transition, the question of safe spaces for women and the challenges you face with competitions. sports”.

Yet even the idea that a slim minority of transgender swimmers could compete because they never experienced male puberty – although technically permitted by the new policy – ​​has been played down by FINA officials.

They’re not saying everyone should transition at 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition at that age in most countries and I hope you wouldn’t be encouraged to do so,” James Pearce, spokesman for FINA President Husain Al-Mussallam, told Reuters. ‘Associated Press. “Basically what they’re saying is it’s not possible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an edge.”

While supporters of the FINA ban have promised to explore the possibility of holding a third gender-neutral competition in competitive swimming – in which transgender people would be eligible to compete – FINA has yet to publish. details explaining how such a competition would be organised.

The ban has been decried by many transgender athletes around the world. Transgender male triathlete Chris Mosier, the first transgender person to compete in the Olympic trials, wrote in a Posting on Twitter how harmful the ban was.

“To require transgender athletes to ‘complete’ a medical transition before the age of 12 – particularly when it is increasingly difficult and in some states nearly impossible to obtain gender-affirming care – is outrageous and completely unrealistic,” Mosier tweeted.

Johnson’s latest comments add to an ongoing list of anti-LGBTQ statements or stances he has taken over the years. Johnson was recently criticized for “shuffling on issues of LGBTQ rights and not Outright ban conversion therapy for transgender people, choosing instead to ban the practice only with respect to sexual orientation.

Recently, his predecessor, former Prime Minister Theresa May — a Conservative Party colleague — spoke out against Johnson’s choice allow therapists to subject transgender people to conversion therapy without ramifications. May noted that transgender people “still face indignities and prejudice, yet they deserve understanding and respect”, arguing that the UK government should ban the practice altogether.

Yet Johnson’s attitudes about transgender exclusion have found defenders in government, including Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries, who published an opinion piece in The daily mail on June 26 urging all UK sports bodies to adopt even stricter bans on transgender participation.

“When I bring together our own sports governing bodies this week, I will make it clear that I expect them to follow suit,” she said. “Competitive female sport must be reserved for persons born female. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or suppressed testosterone, but unequivocally and unmistakably someone who was born female. I want all of our sports governing bodies to follow this policy.