Former world champion swimmer Danni Miatke warns that FINA’s ban on transgender athletes will affect a ‘marginalized’ community for decades

Former world champion swimmer Danni Miatke says she is “furious” at the controversial FINA decision effectively banning trans women from elite competition.

Miatke, who won gold in the 50m butterfly at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, said she rejected the idea that banning trans women from participating was prioritizing “fairness” over “inclusion”.

“It’s not about justice, because justice is inclusion,” she told ABC Sport.

“We’re not just talking about Australia, but the most marginalized people in the world. We must do everything we can to uplift and support them.”

Miatke, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQI+ community, said she was also disappointed that Dolphins captain Cate Campbell spoke out publicly in support of the ban.


“I understand the difficult position that Cate is in, as a media personality and as someone who has been asked to testify to FINA,” she said.

“But sportspeople are pillars of Australian communities in terms of setting the moral standard of what we will accept.

Miatke, who now works as a pharmacist at a Melbourne hospital, added that it was only after retirement that she understood the critical role sport plays in shaping social norms.

“I’ll be very honest, I didn’t have that perspective when I was an athlete,” said the 34-year-old.

“They teach you to be really selfish, because how else can you justify spending 60 hours in a pool a week?

“But I think if you’re going to comment [on an issue like this]you need to educate yourself about the impact of these decisions beyond you as an individual.”

Miatke added that she was tired of gender equality being used as an excuse to exclude trans and gender-diverse people from sport.

“You can’t say you’re a feminist if you’re transphobic, that’s nonsense,” Miatke said.

“Feminism means equality for everyone, not just cisgender women. When talking about trans women, we’re talking about women.”

Groves and Dryden also speak out against the FINA ban

Miatke isn’t the only former swimmer to speak out against the ban in recent days, with Maddie Groves angrily responding to Cate Campbell’s assertion that her stance on the FINA decision came from a place of “acceptance” for people of gender. diverse.


Groves made headlines last year when he withdrew from Olympic events, citing a culture of misogyny in Australian swimming.

She has since also spoken to ABC about allegedly being sexually abused by someone who works in the sport.

On Tuesday, she joined former Canadian Olympic swimmer Nikki Dryden, now a human rights lawyer, who told Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas that she believed the ban was unconstitutional.

“There’s no way [ban] could defend internationally under human rights rules,” Dryden told Karvelas.

Dryden added that it was problematic that FINA had yet to reveal who made up the “task force” behind the bombshell decision.

“We don’t have to see any of the names of this supposed task force, neither the scientists nor the human rights advisers,” Dryden said.

“The reference to ‘science’ is really flawed, because when you read [the policy] they keep comparing men to women… but we’re not talking about men vs women, we’re talking about trans or intersex women and [cis] women.”

Two women hold trophies in front of a blue backdrop
Lia Thomas was caught up in the heated debate over transgender participation in sport. (Getty Images: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire.)

Dryden went on to state that those who voted for the policy had less than 15 minutes to read and make a final decision on it.

“FINA did this 40-minute presentation and they had all these people speaking, including Cate Campbell; they didn’t even have the politics in front of them during the presentation,” she said.

“It’s a 24-page policy that is highly technical. The whole thing, even around how it was passed by the federations, will be challenged.”

Dryden also questioned the notion that sport should be “fair”.

“I was never trained to care about the person in the next lane and whether or not they were competing fairly. We were trained to swim in our own lanes and do the best we could.

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