FINA, the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions in water sports, just banned transgender athletes from competing in women’s competitions. And a certain LGBTQ activist and Olympic gold medalist has something to say about the matter.
“I was furious,” Tom Daley said at the British LGBT Awards, according to BBC. “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.” Tom Daley has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ athletes and communities across the world and has now come out in defense of transgender swimmers and divers.
Related: Tom Daley says it’s his “mission” to ban countries that execute LGBTQ people from Olympics
At the awards ceremony, Daley continued speaking out about FINA’s decision. “It’s something I feel really strongly about. Giving trans people the chance to share their side.”
This isn’t the first time Daley has spoken up about LGBTQ issues in sports.
Last year, Daley spoke out about countries allowed in the Olympics that execute LGBTQ individuals.
“In the Olympics, there were more out sportspeople than at any other Games combined so that was amazing,” Daley said at the time. “But there were 10 countries competing where it is punishable by death.”
Daley doesn’t hold back when discussing his ire with the Olympics. “I’ve spoken very openly about the fact I don’t think countries should be able to host an Olympic Games or a major sporting event if they have laws that criminalize or marginalize LGBT people, women, people of color.”
“If it can’t be an inclusive place to go and spectate or compete, if people don’t think they are going to be safe, then those countries shouldn’t be allowed to host the events until they change their laws. We shouldn’t just follow the money, we should worry about people’s safety and human rights.”
Tackling the Olympics partnership with countries that do not offer a good quality of life for LGBTQ individuals is one thing, but finding out that the sports federation Daley is part of has banned athletes hits close to home for the British diver.
Instead of banning transgender athletes outright, FINA is offering a different “open” category for athletes to compete in. However, that decision has caused an uproar among human rights groups, including Athlete Ally, who doesn’t condone the decision.
“The eligibility criteria for the women’s category as it is laid out in the policy polices the bodies of all women, and will not be enforceable without seriously violating the privacy and human rights of any athlete looking to compete in the women’s category,” said Anne Lieberman, the group’s director of policy and programs.
Athlete Ally concluded that the policy is “discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles.”