ABC Decries Compromise Swimming Rule Banning Certain Trans Athletes

Nature scored something of a win after FINA, the international governing body that oversees competitive swimming, ruled that transgendered athletes will be barred from competition unless they transitioned for the age of 12, a.k.a before they hit puberty. It was essentially a compromise ruling that would stop males who had benefitted from puberty from competing unfairly in women’s swimming events. But ABC’s Good Morning America was up in arms as they joined activists condemning the move, on Monday.

“And this is, by far, the toughest restriction against transgender athletes. Swimming’s international governing board says they consulted with scientists and policymakers,” scoffed correspondent Juju Chang. “Some see it as a triumph of fairness or equity, while others see it as a blow to inclusion.”

Getting to the meat of the story, Chang called it “a bombshell ruling in the world of international sports” and whined FINA would be “leaving out athletes like one of the sport’s rising stars, 23-year-old Lia Thomas.”

Chang recycled an interview she did with Thomas earlier this year when he suggested the reason he was outperforming the real women was that he was happier than they were:

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CHANG: There are some who look at the data and suggest that you’re enjoying a competitive advantage. What do you say to that?

THOMAS: There’s a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do. And the biggest change for me is that I’m happy. And sophomore year, I had my best times competing with the men, I was miserable. And so having that be lifted is incredibly relieving and allows me to put my all into training, into racing.

After playing that interview ad nauseam, Chang tried to deny the science that showed transgender athletes who were biologically male had an advantage. “But a FINA spokesperson telling the AP that according to the scientists they consulted, ‘if you transition after the start of puberty you have an advantage, which is unfair,’” she scoffed.

Further claiming “the science is still evolving,” Chang admitted, “some medical experts say the effects of higher testosterone during male puberty may never be fully erased.” For more on this, she spoke to Mayo Clinic physiologist Dr. Michael Joyner who spelled out the massive physiological advantage men had over women:

CHANG: What are the physical aspects that transwomen may not be able to roll back with hormone therapy?

JOYNER: Obviously, issues related to body size, airway size, hand size, foot size, perhaps bone density and so forth. But I think the main thing is just the interactions of exercise training and skeletal muscle.

Journalism is in a sad state when a grown adult had to have something so elementary explained to them.

In wrapping up the video portion of the segment, Chang looked to transgendered swimmer and activist Skyler Baylor, who claims the real “threat to women’s sports” is “transphobia.” “In order to exclude the transwoman, you have to police all women’s bodies and that will lead to the destruction of the women’s category,” Baylor declared.

Once they came back to the live shot, Chang suggested there was a “concern’ (though she didn’t cite a source) that the ruling “might open the gates to other restrictions across many other sectors not just in sports.” Co-host Robin Roberts immediately blurted out, “That’s it! It’s going to happen!”

This advocacy for the destruction of women’s sports was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Target and Macy’s. Their contact information is linked.

The Transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
June 20, 2022
7:31:45 a.m. Eastern

ROBIN ROBERTS: But right now the new policy that effectively bans transgender women from competing in women’s swimming events.

Juju Chang is herewith more. And Juju, this goes into effect starting, what, starting this morning?

JUJU CHANG: Absolutely, Robin. Good morning to you.

And this is, by far, the toughest restriction against transgender athletes. Swimming’s international governing board says they consulted with scientists and policymakers, and voted to essentially ban trans swimmers from elite competitions including the Olympics unless they medical transition before age 12.

Some see it as a triumph of fairness or equity, while others see it as a blow to inclusion.

[Cuts to video]

A bombshell ruling in the world of international sports. As of this morning, the swimming world’s governing body, FINA, effectively banning transgender athletes from competing in women’s events. The organization voting it will only allow women who have transitioned by age 12 to compete in international races like the Olympics.

Leaving out athletes like one of the sport’s rising stars, 23-year-old Lia Thomas. The swimmer became the first-known transgender athlete to win a division I national title. Thomas, who began her transition as a sophomore UPenn, speaking out recently for the first time on GMA.

There are some who look at the data and suggest that you’re enjoying a competitive advantage. What do you say to that?

LIA THOMAS: There’s a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do. And the biggest change for me is that I’m happy. And sophomore year, I had my best times competing with the men, I was miserable. And so having that be lifted is incredibly relieving and allows me to put my all into training, into racing.

CHANG: Some of the critics would say oh, you transitioned in order to be successful.

THOMAS: Trans people don’t transition for athletics. We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves. Transitioning to get an advantage is not something that ever factors into our decisions.

CHANG: You didn’t transition to win more medals?

THOMAS: No.

CHANG: But a FINA spokesperson telling the AP that according to the scientists they consulted, “if you transition after the start of puberty you have an advantage, which is unfair.”

While the science is still evolving, some medical experts say the effects of higher testosterone during male puberty may never be fully erased.

What are the physical aspects that transwomen may not be able to roll back with hormone therapy?

DR. MICHAEL JOYNER (Mayo Clinic, physiologist & professor): Obviously, issues related to body size, airway size, hand size, foot size, perhaps bone density and so forth. But I think the main thing is just the interactions of exercise training and skeletal muscle.

CHANG: Thomas, now a college grad headed to law school, telling ABC News that she had held out hope.

Are there Olympics in your future?

THOMAS: It’s been a goal of mine to swim in the Olympic trials for a very long time. And I would love to see that through.

CHANG: FINA now considering creating a separate group for trans athletes calling it a, quote, “open competition category.”

But allies and activists like Skyler Baylor, the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer calling the decision exclusive and transphobic.

SKYLER BAYLOR: In order to exclude the transwoman, you have to police all women’s bodies and that will lead to the destruction of the women’s category. Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports. Transphobia is.

[Cuts back to live]

CHANG: Now, FINA, the governing body, says they’ll define what an “open category” [air quotes] would consist of for transgender athletes in the next few months, but many activists consider that “othering” [air quotes]. The other concern they have is this that ruling might open the gates to other restrictions across many other sectors not just in sports. Robin.

ROBERTS: That’s it!

CHANG: But beyond.

ROBERTS: It’s going to happen! All right, Juju, thank you.

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