Olympic champion diver Tom Daley has lambasted FINA, the organization that regulates international swimming, diving, and other water sports competitions, for its ban on transgender women.
“I was furious,” Daley, a gay man and recent Advocate cover star, told iNews at a press conference Friday. The iNews piece is available to subscribers only, but several other outlets, including the BBC, have summaries.
“You know, like most queer people, anyone that’s told they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on,” Daley said. “It’s something I feel really strongly about. Giving trans people the chance to share their side.”
The new FINA policy, announced this month, bars trans women from competing in women’s events if they haven’t transitioned by age 12 — so anyone who’s gone through any aspect of male puberty can’t compete as a woman. FINA is also exploring an open category of competition that would likely let trans women participate.
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The policy came after the International Olympic Committee last year decided to allow each sport’s governing body to set standards for trans people’s participation. In swimming, there has been an outcry the success of trans woman Lia Thomas, who this year became the first known trans athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I championship. Swimming for the University of Pennsylvania, she won the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA women’s national competition in Atlanta in March. The new FINA policy is likely to affect her, as she has expressed a desire to compete in the Olympics.
Daley made his remarks after receiving the Sports Personality of the Year award at the British LGBT Awards. He won gold at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year in the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving event with athletic partner Matty Lee. He won bronze medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.