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Ramifications of Transgender Woman Allowed To Compete In Swimming

June 21, 2022

Sports has two desirable standards – it gives every athlete equal opportunity to compete and levels the playing field. However, the lines can get blurred when it comes to transgender athletes. As more and more players come out proudly, showing the world that they are not afraid to reveal their gender identity and compete on an equal footing. However, many are facing discrimination for their bravery, especially transgender swimmers in women's teams. 

Transgender Athletes in Swimming 

Transgender individuals are people with a gender identity different from the one assigned to them at birth. Their biology at the time doesn't match how they present themselves, and many undergo sex-change medical procedures to become the gender they associate with. 

Renowned swimmer Lia Thomas made headlines recently as she became the first openly transgender athlete to win the NCAA Division 1 national championship. However, her participation and win were deemed unfair as she was allegedly stronger than her heterosexual female counterparts. Officials and other swimmers argued that she had a distinct advantage over her competition since she had the strength of a man. 

NCAA Regulations regarding Trans Swimmers 

While she isn’t the first trans swimmer in the NCAA, Lia’s victories have placed her in the center of a debate about trans athletes. The ramifications are positive for all athletes who refuse to conform to standard gender norms and wish to compete as their actual gender.

To appease the masses, the NCAA updated its transgender inclusion policy to outline what they considered a transgender swimmer.

As per the playing rules:

  • A transgender male athlete or student-athlete is an individual who has received a medical exemption for testosterone treatment for gender dysphoria, Gender Identity Disorder to compete in the NCAA completion in the men's team. They are not eligible to compete in the women's team unless the team changes its status to mixed.

  • A transgender female athlete or student-athlete is anyone undergoing treatment to reduce testosterone levels in their body for gender dysphoria, Gender Identity Disorder to compete in the NCAA completion in the men's team. They cannot compete in the women’s team till they complete one year of testosterone suppression treatment.

  • Before they start hormone treatments, a transgender student athlete's college has to submit a waiver to waive the rule regarding swimsuits. This has to be done every year, so they have to re-submit annually to ensure their students can compete in the suits designed for their bodies. 

The case for transgender athletes is a complex one. Not everyone is on board, and many states are placing bans on this gender from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity. This does not include Illinois. So if you are banned from a sport because of your gender identity, contact a Chicago gender discrimination lawyer right away and protect your rights. 

Get In Touch With the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates

Gender discrimination has no place in the workplace, sports, or anywhere in your life. If you believe you are being discriminated against because of your gender identity, get in touch with a Chicago gender discrimination lawyer at the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates. We have years of experience representing clients like you who feel they are not being heard. We will fight for the outcome you deserve.