INCLUSION OF TRANSGENDER ATHLETES
Transgender: a person whose gender identity does not match the person’s sex at birth Gender identity: a person’s deeply-felt internal sense of being male or female
Gender expression: a person’s external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine (i.e., dress, speech, mannerisms, social interactions)
A minor transgender athlete member a swim club should be allowed to participate in accordance with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the athlete’s birth certificate or other records and regardless of whether the athlete has undergone any medical treatment. The policy should not prevent an athlete from electing to participate in an activity according to his or her assigned birth gender.
This means an athlete who is biologically female but has a male gender identity should be allowed to participate in male events and an athlete who is biologically male but has a female gender identity should be allowed to participate in female events.
- When an athlete (and/or the athlete’s parents) discloses a transgender identity, coaches should request a change of the athlete’s gender in SWIMS by contacting Membership or Safe Sport staff at USA Swimming. Once this is completed, the athlete will be able to be entered in events that match his/her gender identity.
- At all times, teammates, coaches, and all others should respect the confidentiality of transgender athletes. Discussion or disclosure of an individual’s gender identity should only take place after expressed permission is given by the individual or the individual’s parents.
- In all cases, teammates, coaches, and all others should refer to transgender athletes by the athlete’s preferred name. Similarly, in all cases, pronoun references to transgender athletes should reflect the athlete’s gender and pronoun preferences.
- Transgender athletes should be able to use the locker rooms, changing facilities, and restrooms that are consistent with his/her gender identity. When requested, transgender athletes should be provided access to a gender-neutral space (i.e., family restroom).
- Prior to meets, without violating an athlete’s confidentiality, coaches should communicate with the meet host regarding expectations for treatment of transgender athletes in the pool, on deck, and in the locker room.
- When overnight travel is involved, transgender athletes should be assigned to share hotel rooms based on their gender identity. Athletes who request extra privacy should be accommodated whenever possible.
- Transgender athletes should be permitted to dress consistently with their gender identities, including warm-ups and team gear.
- Transgender athletes should be permitted to wear whatever swimsuit is most comfortable for them, so long as the suit does not extend below the knee or past the shoulders.
- Clubs should provide training to their staff and regular volunteers regarding their responsibilities to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Such topics should include terms and concepts of gender identity and expression and bystander intervention strategies related to bullying. Contact USA Swimming Safe Sport staff for training program recommendations.
The USA Swimming Code of Conduct specifies that discrimination against any member or participant on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression is prohibited (304.3.3).
In the event that a question should arise about whether an athlete’s request to participate in a manner consistent with his/her gender identity is bona fide, USA Swimming will refer to the Code of Conduct and follow its standard procedures of enforcement.