Aussie swim great Kieren Perkins warns of ‘human carnage’ following FINA’s new transgender policy

Australian swimming great Kieren Perkins has warned of potential ‘human carnage’ at community sport level after FINA – the world governing body – banned transgender participants from women’s sport this week as part of their new global policy.

Perkins, 48, who these days is CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, said he ‘sort of’ supported the move from FINA, but questioned if sporting organisations below the elite level will adopt the same rules.

‘The reality is the Save Women’s Sport movement, which suggests that women’s sport is about to disappear because of a wave of transgender athletes, is incredibly erroneous,’ he told SEN Radio.

‘Then of course, at the other end, that there should be unabated, open competition for whatever gender you identify with, is going too far and missing the fairness argument around speed, strength and stamina.’

Perkins, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, went onto call out what he feels is a lack of transparency from FINA.

Australian swimming great Kieren Perkins has warned of potential ‘human carnage’ at community sport level after FINA banned transgender participants from women’s sport this week as part of their new global policy (pictured, with wife Karen)

Perkins also stated he feels for transgender athletes such as US star athlete Lia Thomas, who are 'incredibly misunderstood' in his eyes

Perkins also stated he feels for transgender athletes such as US star athlete Lia Thomas, who are ‘incredibly misunderstood’ in his eyes

‘FINA has been clear in their dialogue that they are talking about a very small microcosm, which is elite (sport),’ he continued.

‘What they have missed in acknowledging that is that it is the billboard for sport, the main focus, and I get very, very concerned that domestic competitions will accept that ruling and run with that regardless of the human carnage it creates at their local, domestic level.

‘I read FINA talking about ‘the science’ has been proved. What proof? 

‘Everything that I have seen suggests that, actually, we’re not really sure yet. When you talk to medical professionals who are dealing directly in this environment, there isn’t clarity without compromise with the science of it all.’

Australia currently has no elite transgender swimmers, with American college swimmer Lia Thomas seemingly the primary reason for FINA’s ruling.

Perkins also stated he feels for transgender athletes, who are ‘incredibly misunderstood’ in his eyes.

‘The thing that has disappointed me deeply in this dialogue is we sit here having this very vocal and extreme debate about a section of society that is incredibly marginalised, incredibly misunderstood and already suffers from significant incidences of mental health and suicide,’ he said.

Former Olympic swimmer Maddie Groves was heavily opposed to the ruling on transgender athletes from FINA

Former Olympic swimmer Maddie Groves was heavily opposed to the ruling on transgender athletes from FINA

‘FINA has made this determination on the basis that it looks like there could be one athlete in the entire globe who might potentially, maybe get there. In the meantime, transgender participation in sport is among the lowest of all demographics that are assessed in sport in Australia.

‘Now the first stone has fallen, we can have that conversation back at the national level about how we do approach this. I hope swimming in Australia is able to engage the community at large. At the moment, with what FINA announced, I don’t think they (FINA) have quite got there.’

Fellow swimmers Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm supported the decision from FINA, but ex-Olympic swimmer Maddie Groves was heavily opposed to the ruling.

‘It is my hope that young girls all around the world can continue to dream of becoming Olympic and World Champions in a female category prioritising the competitive cornerstone of fairness,’ Campbell said.

‘However, it is also my hope that a young gender-diverse child can walk into a swimming club and feel the same level of acceptance that a nine-year-old immigrant kid from Africa did all those years ago.’

Australian swimming champion Emily Seebohm supported the decision for transgender athletes to be banned from competing against biological women

Australian swimming champion Emily Seebohm supported the decision for transgender athletes to be banned from competing against biological women

Fellow Aussie swimmer Cate Campbell said she wanted trans athletes to be part of the broader swimming community but said the 'cornerstone of fairness' needed to be upheld

Fellow Aussie swimmer Cate Campbell said she wanted trans athletes to be part of the broader swimming community but said the ‘cornerstone of fairness’ needed to be upheld

Groves replied to Campbell on Twitter: ‘So you ban them from competing with their peers? You’re okay with ostracising an already marginalised group? Real accepting.

‘There are already gender diverse people in swimming and I’m guessing they’re not feeling very accepted (right now). Shame on everyone that supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision.’

Rugby league this week also banned transgender athletes at NRL and NRLW level, while Rugby Australia has a 12-step procedure for transgender players looking to play in community level competitions.

Football NSW told the Sydney Morning Herald a formal policy on transgender, intersex and non-binary participation is in the process of being refined, with their current position to ‘facilitate participation on the basis of the gender with which the person identifies’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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