Legal setback for transgender swimmer Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas, a swimmer from America who identifies as transgender, has been unsuccessful in challenging the decision made by World Aquatics to forbid her from taking part in women's competitions. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld the ban.

Lia Thomas - Figure 1

Lia Thomas, an athlete who identifies as transgender, recently had her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) denied. The appeal was against the rules set by World Aquatics (WA), which was previously known as the International Swimming Federation (FINA), in regard to the involvement of transgender athletes in sports competitions. This information was shared by the global organization.

The decision bars the transgender swimmer from taking part in the ladies' group at the Paris Olympics, proving that the regulations contested by the competitor are legitimate.

The international organization in charge of aquatic sports, known as World Aquatics, expressed their approval of the recent ruling made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Lia Thomas. The organization believes that this decision marks a significant advancement in their mission to ensure the safeguarding of women's sports. This statement was released through a press release.

"We are dedicated to collaborating with everyone involved to maintain the ideas of diversity in water sports and are certain that our policy regarding the inclusion of all genders is a just and reasonable way to do so."

Thomas contested World Aquatics' gender eligibility rules, having previously broken records set by renowned swimmers Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky during his college years.

Lia Thomas - Figure 2

She objected that the regulations were "prejudiced" and appealed to CAS to state that they were against the law and nullify World Aquatics' activities, which was confirmed by CAS.

Thomas, who is 25 years old, has expressed her desire to participate in the Olympics on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, due to the recent decision made by the CAS, she will not be able to compete in the Olympics because she is a woman.

During February of 2022, there was a lot of debate surrounding Thomas' win at the NCAA Division I National Swimming Championships. Following this, the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, made an announcement acknowledging that Emma Weyant, a swimmer from Florida, was the true champion, even though Thomas had been the clear victor.

Weyant, a competitor who won a silver medal in the 400m individual medley during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, came in second place with a margin of just half a second behind Thomas. This achievement makes Thomas the first transgender individual to win a national swimming championship in history.

A while back, a few individuals who were part of the University of Pennsylvania's women's swim team penned a letter to the institution, expressing that they didn't want the transgender swimmer to participate in Ivy League events as she possessed physical benefits in comparison to females.

Lia Thomas - Figure 3

The World Aquatics recently approved a Gender Inclusion Policy (2022), replacing FINA. According to CAS, transgender swimmers who have undergone any level of male pubertal development will not be permitted to partake in elite women's events.

71% of the 152 members who attended the Extraordinary General Congress during the World Championships in Budapest approved the policy.

To take part in women's competitions, athletes who are transgender must have undergone their transition prior to reaching 12 years of age.

Thomas tried to reverse the ruling by arguing that it was prejudiced, but CAS dismissed his claim and determined that Thomas could not participate in high-level competitions under WA or USA Swimming.

The sports court ruled that the sportsman has not asked or been given permission to participate in the "elite events" characterized by the regulations of USA Swimming. The panel made a note of this observation.

According to the statement, she is presently allowed to participate in USA Swimming competitions, with the exception of those classified as "elite events."

As a result, the tribunal came to the decision that Thomas is not permitted to comment on the eligibility requirements for participating in World Aquatics competitions. The tribunal found that he is not significantly impacted by the regulations, and therefore does not have the authority to argue against them.

The governing body stated in a release that they are devoted to creating a surrounding that endorses impartiality, appreciation, and impartial possibilities for athletes of every sex. They reiterated this pledge.

After being criticized for their gender policy, WA issued a statement defending themselves by saying that they frequently assess their policies and practices to ensure they align with their core values. As a result of this evaluation, they added an open category.

We continue to promise our dedication to collaborate with everyone involved in aquatics to maintain inclusivity, and have trust that our policy on gender inclusion is just and unbiased.

Read more
This week's most popular news