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Transgender Olympian Caitlyn Jenner has backed a controversial new bill which has banned transgender women competing against cisgender women in swimming races.
The new policy was announced by swimming governing body FINA.
The new rules will mean that transgender women can only compete in women's races if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.
Following the announcement on Sunday, Caitlyn Jenner – who famously transitioned in 2015 – tweeted: "it worked! I took a lot of heat – but what’s fair is fair! If you go through male puberty you should not be able to take medals away from females. Period."
The former Keeping up With the Kardashians star first rose to fame after competing at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. She famously won the gold medal for the men’s decathlon.
Jenner has offered her support for the new policy, which was imposed in response to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ record-breaking victories at college swim meets. The victories sparked claims that the athlete had an extreme advantage over other female competitors, as a result of going through male puberty.
She commented: “Thanks to all of you that stood with me as I talked about what should be obvious (not anti-LGBT but common sense). I am glad the international community is speaking out. I will continue to speak out, act and advocate for women in sports.”
Jenner has always been vocal about her feelings of trans women competing against cis women, describing it as “not fair”.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Jenner publicly came out as a trans woman in a Vanity Fair article called “Call me Caitlyn”. She went on to win the 2015 ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award, where she said: “I also want to acknowledge all the young trans athletes who are out there – given the chance to play sports as who they really are.”
In a more recent appearance on the podcast The Trans Sporter Room in 2020, Jenner said: “I think every trans person, if they’re into athletics, should have an opportunity to compete and to improve themselves.” she went on to say “I think sports is such a great way to learn a lot about yourself.”
It wasn't until May 2021 that Jenner made her first comments on the issues surrounding trans women competing against cisgender women.
Among those affected by the new ruling will be Lia Thomas, who will be prevented from competing against women in international events in the run up to the Olympics.
In March 2022, Jenner said that she “respects” Thomas’ right to transition, but continued to say “Three years earlier, she was on the men’s team ranked 462; now she’s No.1 in the same event for women? Obviously, it’s not fair.”
The international sports federation for swimming also announced that competitors who have completed their transition by the age of 12 will have to prove that they continuously suppress their testosterone levels.
FINA are also setting up an ‘open category’ for trans athletes, with a working grouping spending the next six months on how this group would operate.
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- Caitlyn Jenner
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