A transgender 10-year-old who won second prize in a swimming gala race was delighted with his victory – but then he was disqualified because he used to be a girl.
Organisers said he had the wrong swimming trunks on because he was wearing a ‘full skin’ rather than boys’ trunks.
But his mum said he had to wear this, saying: ‘When you find a transgender bathing suit, let me know, and I’ll go out and buy one.’
‘He is not going to go into the girls’ race because he is not a girl.’
His mum, who didn’t give her name, said her child was born a girl but now identifies, dresses, and is treated at school as a boy.
Despite being allowed to swim the race, he was told the result would not stand – and his school team was also disqualified from the relay.
The child, who also has autism, was taking part in a swimming gala held by the Welsh youth movement Urdd at a leisure centre in Llanelli, South Wales.
Now his mum and his school have protested as they believe disqualification stemmed from the child’s gender transition being ‘outed’ to the judges.
His mother said: ‘I have no other words other than ‘disappointed’. I can only commend the staff at the school – they did everything they could do to protect the children.’
The Head of Inclusion at the child’s school added: ‘It’s important that he has the opportunity to take part and we felt it appropriate to raise it with the relevant bodies. From an inclusion point of view we were dissatisfied with the decision, and wish to prevent this from happening again.’
‘This is a child that for the first time has felt included, so for them to disqualify him is ridiculous,’ said his mum, from Swansea.
‘The most important thing is to get him back into the water – because of the autism, swimming is a sport that he doesn’t really have to get involved with other people to take part.
The importance of swimming to him is massive.’
A spokeswoman for Swim Wales said: ‘As part of British Swimming, Swim Wales have adopted their transgender policy, and in light of this matter will ensure the Urdd is aware of the policy and request it is adopted/used for their swimming events.’
An Urdd spokesman said:
‘During our swimming gala the child competed in two races.
‘In the butterfly race he was disqualified on two accounts – for wearing a ‘skin’, which is not allowed under our normal rules and also for a technical fault.
‘After considering the facts, the Urdd reversed the disqualification for the ‘skin’, but can’t reverse the disqualification for the technical fault.
‘The Urdd will make sure that no child faces prejudice for whatever reason, and if a change in the rules needs to be done to accommodate a particular child, we would always encourage teachers and parents to contact us in advance to discuss individual circumstances.
‘The Urdd will also discuss this in future with Swim Wales.’