For Transgender Athletes, an Ongoing Search for Inclusion and Fairness

A ruling by swimming’s world governing body effectively bars transgender women from high levels of competition in the name of fairness. Critics say the decision was itself unfair.

Should the primary aim of elite sports be competitive fairness? Or does maintaining integrity mean that inclusiveness is just as important as a level playing field?

The issue, which has roiled the water of pools everywhere with the success of Lia Thomas, the transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer, burst to the surface again on Sunday. FINA, swimming’s world governing body, essentially prohibited transgender women from the highest levels of women’s international competition.

FINA’s proposal is to create a so-called open category of competition to

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