USA Swimming’s House of Delegates has voted to implement a new “stated gender” section for registering athletes, furthering inclusion initiatives for transgender swimmers.
Amendment R-1 establishes that athletes can pick whether they identify as male or female “for the purpose of athlete swimming eligibility, competition, selection and records.” It adds that “an athlete’s stated competition category shall be referred to as ‘gender.'”
Should someone wish to refute an athlete’s competition category, their protest will be heard by the National Eligibility Appeal Panel, and the athlete will be allowed to continue in their competition category until the protest is addressed by the Panel.
USA Swimming has previously recommended that club teams allow minors to compete based on their stated gender identity, and had outlined how athletes could request to have their gender officially changed for competition purposes. However, this is the organization’s first nation-wide mandate that secures athletes the right to swim in their self-identified gender category.
For a transgender athlete to make the Junior or Senior National Team, regardless of age, they must meet medical requirements including (but not limited to) that of USADA’s drug testing pool and the US and International Olympic Committee’s medical criteria for competition. It will be the athlete’s responsibility to make sure they remain compliant, USA Swimming said.
In terms of elite international competition, like USA Swimming, the IOC does not mandate gender reassignment surgery for an athlete to compete in their stated category. Athletes who transition from female to male can compete without restriction, but those transitioning from male to female currently must prove that their testosterone levels have been under 10 nmol/L for a year prior to the first competition in the female category, and must remain that way in order to maintain eligibility to compete as a female.
Below National Team level, USA Swimming confirmed that it will recognize standards (including national age group records) set by transgender age group swimmers in their stated gender category.
R-1 also reads that any breach of the given terms will be considered “Discrimination in violation of the Amateur Sports Act which requires that USA Swimming must provide an equal opportunity to athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators, and officials to participate in the sport of swimming.”
It continues: “Athletes must be allowed to participate and compete to the fullest extent allowed by the Rules and Regulations. Discrimination against any member or participant on the basis of age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, genetics, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, where applicable, is prohibited.”