Men’s or women’s gymnastics? Regardless of their gender, in Sweden, young gymnasts will now be able to choose the category in which they wish to practice, including for national competitions, and this, until junior, announced Monday the Swedish Gymnastics Federation.
The decision comes after a “deep dive into the issue of gender identity and expression” over the summer, the Federation said in a statement.
“For our training and competition activities, the decision means that you can train in any group you choose, regardless of your gender, identity or gender expression,” she continued.
Adolescents who identify as transgender will also be free to compete in the category of their choice, up to the national junior level included – between 13 and 18 years old depending on the discipline.
Asked by the daily Today’s News, the agency said the new rules would not apply to adult athletes, however – under current international rules.
The Swedish Gymnastics Federation is the first sports federation to respond to the call of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL), which in October published a report on transsexuals in sport, focused on children and young people.
According to the RFSL, transgender youth feel excluded from many sports. In addition, she explains that other sports organizations are preparing to adopt new guidelines to be more “inclusive” – notably the Swedish football and skating federations.
The Gymnastics Federation explained that the issue had been on the agenda for some time, but there had not been many inquiries.
“The reason we haven’t received a lot of questions about this is probably because we had a system / structure that led people to choose to quit early because they didn’t felt that there was room for them, so the question never reached us, ”said Pelle Malmborg, secretary general of the federation, quoted in the press release.