The Swedish Athletics Association is looking to make sports in Sweden more inclusive for young transgendered individuals by making it easier for them to choose which gender they want to compete with.
Hillevi Thor, head of the department at the Swedish Athletics Association, said that young people under the age of 18 who are trans should be able to “feel safe” when it comes to athletics.
“Regardless of which gender you were born in, you can compete in the girl or boy class you feel you belong to,” Thor told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
“We know that many people experience it as a very difficult situation and we believe that the joy and power of sports can have a positive impact. Everyone feels good from physical activity and from the association’s togetherness, it is not something we want to hide from anyone,” Thor said.
According to Dagens Nyheter, the Swedish LGBT group RFSL looked at the experiences of 110 transgender people in sports and found that many felt excluded due to the existing gender division in sports.
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“Society at large is not always adapted to the reality of transgender people and this is part of changing this, by making athletics as accessible as possible for everyone. We want everyone, based on their gender identity, to be able to participate in athletics,” Thor told the newspaper.
The issue of transgender individuals choosing which gender they would like to compete with has been a heated issue in many countries as some have argued that in some cases, such as a trans girl or woman who was formerly a man, may have inherent advantages over other female competitors.
Last month in France, the French rugby federation announced it would be allowing trans athletes t compete, with Serge Simon, the vice-president of the French rugby federation, stating: “Rugby is an inclusive, sharing sport, without distinction of sex, gender, origin or religion.”
The move came after World Rugby gave a recommendation saying that transwomen should not play in elite-level women’s rugby for safety reasons in October of last year.
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In the U.S., some states, such as Florida, have moved to pass laws to ban trans athletes in women’s sports under the guise of protecting girls’ and women’s sports.
“So what we’re really doing is protecting women against discrimination in athletic competition,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Breitbart News, adding: “I think that’s something that’s really important — that we preserve the integrity and fairness of these girls’ and women’s sports.”