03 April 2023

Swim England updates transgender policy to have ‘female’ and ‘open’ categories

03 April 2023

Swim England has updated its transgender policy to include ‘female’ and ‘open’ categories for licensed events from September.

The female category will be restricted to athletes with a birth sex of female, the governing body has announced, while the open category will feature athletes born male, trans or non-binary competitors and any competitor not eligible for the female category.

The new policy comes into effect on September 1 and it will apply to competitions under Swim England’s auspices including those organised by its member regions, counties and clubs.

“Whilst Swim England’s existing policy regarding the use of hormonal therapy was found to be effective at reducing performance advantage, it was insufficient to negate it completely and trans females therefore likely retain an advantage over their cisgender peers,” a statement from Swim England read.

“As a result, Swim England believes that the restriction of certain competition to birth sex females to be justified and proportionate in the pursuit of fair competition.”

The policy differs across various disciplines and contains provision for self-identification at lower-level events.

Last year World Aquatics barred any competitor who had been through any part of male puberty from its female events.

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