Swim Ireland Transgender Inclusion Policy – Club Consultation

Invitation to Affiliated Club Member Consultation Session-Wednesday 31st May 7.30pm

Dear Members,

One of Swim Ireland’s core values is that of Wellbeing and Inclusivity, and we consistently endeavour to be inclusive and welcoming in our sport, seeking to empower everyone to be able to participate in a safe and enjoyable environment, where everyone is treated with the same level of respect, equality, and value. We recognise that transgender individuals face barriers to participation in sport and the purpose of developing a Swim Ireland Transgender Policy is to provide clarity on our position in relation to Aquatics. Our intention is to develop a Policy that is as inclusive as possible, in line with current policy guidance and legislation, whilst also ensuring competitive fairness.

We should be clear that we recognise and are bound by World Aquatics’ Policy on eligibility for Men’s and Women’s Competition Categories at International level and, where applicable, at National level in Ireland (See Appendix A which accompanies this document). Where World Aquatics Policy is not applicable our current thinking is that the Swim Ireland Transgender Policy should be aligned to the principles of the Swim Ireland Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Policy. In brief, our current position is one of individuals being permitted to participate under their recognised gender, under the Gender Recognition Act, if this does not conflict with World Aquatics rules and does not create disadvantages for biologically female and biologically male participants when competing.

To date, we have engaged with the Aquatics and Transgender communities to determine how we might best balance respect for the rights of Transgender individuals and the rights of competitors. As our clubs are at the core of what we do as an organisation, we are now seeking the views of Swim Ireland affiliated club members on our current policy position and how transgender people can participate in Aquatic activities, through a member consultation session to be held through the Zoom Platform on Wednesday 31st May between 7.30pm-8.45pm (The Zoom meeting link for the session will be sent out by email in advance).

There are two aspects that we would like you to consider in advance of this consultation session. Firstly, from a general participation perspective and secondly from a competition perspective. We currently do not envisage any restrictions concerning participation events and programmes, and our message will be encouraging participation in Aquatics irrespective of gender identity through our open water and pool events, community programmes, and associated activities. We would ask you to consider any challenges that you might envisage in adopting this stance.

We think the second area, in relation to competition, requires additional consideration as competitive fairness to biologically female and biologically male athletes come into play (A person’s biological sex usually refers to their status as female, male, or intersex depending on their chromosomes, reproductive organs, and other characteristics). While our policy approach is inclusive, we want to ensure the integrity and fairness of competition is maintained. We have identified several considerations in this regard, including requirements for the awarding of medals, and achievement of records and rankings, and we will discuss these with you further during the consultation session. We ask you to note any other mechanisms which should be considered to maintain competitive fairness.

We strongly value and appreciate the views of our affiliated club members and the objective of this session is to ascertain feedback and comments on Swim Ireland’s current policy position and mechanism for transgender participation from affiliated membership. We will ask you questions addressing some key items within the policy through polling during the session and will allow for comments or points to be made.

This consultation session is open to ALL Swim Ireland affiliated club members. Should you wish to attend, please register your attendance for the session by Monday 29th May through this Microsoft form.

In addition to the Zoom meeting link, the running order for this session will be sent in advance. Please submit any questions or queries in the meantime to andreworourke@swimireland.ie.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the session.

Appendix A Summary Of World Aquatics Policy Eligibility For Mens And Womens Competition Categories