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Human Rights Lawyer Wants To Team Up With Lia Thomas To Fight Trans Swimming Ban In Court

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Human Rights Lawyer Wants To Team Up With Lia Thomas To Fight Trans Swimming Ban In Court

Former Olympic swimmer turned human rights lawyer Nikki Dryden has lashed out at world swimming's governing body FINA for their ban on trans athletes competing in women's swim categories.

Dryden told the ABC's Patricia Karvelas that she was disappointed by the swimming body's decision.

"I’m actually really disappointed and sad that my sport now has the privilege of having one of the most discriminatory and non-human rights compatible policies in world sport and I really hope that no other sports are going to follow us," Dryden told RN Breakfast.

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Dryden also vowed to help trans swimmer Lia Thomas fight the FINA ruling, addressing the trans swim star directly. 

"As a lawyer, if Lia Thomas is listening, call me," Dryden said.

"I’d love to take this to court all the way up to the court of arbitration of sport because first of all, there’s no way this could stand up internationally under human rights rules and universal principles of human rights ... I just don’t see how this is going to pass."

Transgender women in sport has become a bone of contention for many after Thomas won the national 500-yard freestyle event at the US collegiate championships in Atlanta.

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The University of Pennsylvania swimmer became the first transgender athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association first place title with a time of 4 minutes 33:24.

Credit: Sipa US / Alamy
Credit: Sipa US / Alamy

A total of 71 per cent of voters opted to ban trans athletes from competing in women's elite races at the FINA congress meeting, the sporting body revealed in a statement.

Dryden, who represented Canada twice in swimming at the Olympic Games, also raised questions about the science behind FINA's new policy.

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"I think the science is flawed here,” she told Karvelas.

She added: "I’d love to see who was actually behind this policy because so far they haven’t published the names of those people [on the science task force behind the ruling]."

She continued to rubbish the policy in the ABC interview, telling RN Breakfast that FINA's message us that 'transgender women and all intersex women are actually men and they’re always going to be men in the eyes of FINA'.

In the hours after the ban, Australian researchers have said the latest decision to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s swimming competitions isn’t based on actual science.

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy. Penn Athletics.

Topics: Sport, LGBTQ, News, Australia

Rachel Lang
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