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Tom Daley is ‘furious’ over FINA’s trans athlete ruling

The Olympic diver said the decision is “not on”.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Eddie Blagbrough

Tom Daley is “furious” at the decision made by swimming’s world governing body, FINA, to restrict transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions.

The new policy that will be implemented across sports including diving, will ban athletes who have gone through any part of male puberty.

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A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley)

It has been described as “discriminatory” by the Human Rights Campaign among others. 

“I was furious,” Daley said of the new policy, speaking to iNews at the British LGBT awards.

The 28-year-old diver said the topic is something he feels “really strongly about”.

“You know, like most queer people, anyone that’s told that they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, it’s not on,” he continued. 

FINA has shared that they aim to establish an ‘open’ category for transgender athletes at competitions.

Husain Al-Musallam, FINA president, said the organisation is trying to “protect the rights of our athletes to compete” as well as “protect competitive fairness” with the new ruling.

“FINA will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level,” he continued. 

FINA’s decision will now mean American swimmer Lia Thomas is blocked from competing in female Olympic categories. 

There are worries this decision will lead to other world governing bodies blocking transgender athletes from participating, including World Athletics and FIFA.

Previously, Daley stated that he wanted countries in which homosexuality is criminalised to be barred from hosting sporting events.

He also recently paired up with human rights activist Peter Tatchell to condemn the 35 Commonwealth counties that still criminalise homosexuality ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda over the weekend.

“I believe the Commonwealth should be a forum that protects the rights of all its citizens. It should not support governments that make criminals out of millions of LGBT+ people,” Daley stated.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.