World Aquatics, the governing body for international swimming competitions, has announced a new “open category” for transgender swimmers.
World Aquatics creates the rules for events, including the Olympics and world championships.
The organization had previously banned transgender swimmers from being able to choose which sex they would compete with.
World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam did not say when the new category will launch, but according to a report from the Associated Press, it could be as soon as this year.
“This is a very complex topic,” Al-Musallam said at the World Aquatics Congress in the southwestern Japanese city of Fukuoka, according to the report. “But I am delighted to tell you today that we are now making plans for the first trial of an open category, and we hope to be able to confirm all the details soon.”
“Our sport must be open to everybody,” he added.
Al-Musallam acknowledged that there is a need to protect women’s sports — but said that he doesn’t want to exclude others.
“It was very important that we protected fair competition for our female athletes,” Al-Musallam said. “But you have heard me say many times there should be no discrimination. Nobody should be excluded from our competitions.”
The world governing body for international cycling competitions, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), banned male athletes from competing against women earlier this month, unless they did not go through male puberty.
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