USA Artistic Swimming (USAAS) announced a groundbreaking Gender Inclusion Policy today as crafted by the Board of Directors. The document and its contents were created after meetings with many stakeholders including athletes within our community and professional consultants in the gender inclusion space. The document creates a plan for inclusion of all members, regardless of gender identification, and action steps for the organization and all member clubs to follow. These practices are consistent with USAAS’s values of equitable opportunity and the unequivocal right to participate in sport.
USAAS strongly believes that gender identity, expression and sex variation should never hinder the participation of a member in any aspect of the organization. All members shall have the opportunity to participate fairly, safely and equitably without prejudice. USA Artistic Swimming is proud to prioritize diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the sport and is committed to providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for transgender and non-binary people.
THE POLICYUSAAS will operate within the gender-based categories defined here. Athletes of all gender identities have the choice to participate in all USAAS sanctioned and owned events in the category which they feel most closely aligns with their gender identity. Participants do not need to and will not be asked to provide evidence of hormone treatment or surgical intervention.
Solo Categories: Girl/Woman Solo (athlete who identifies as a girl/woman), Boy/Man Solo (athlete who identifies as boy/man), Gender Inclusive Solo (open to athletes who do not identify as girl/woman or boy/man)
Duet Categories: Girls/Women Duet (both athletes identify as a girl/woman), Boys/Men Duet (both athletes identify as a boy/man), Mixed Duet (one athlete identifies as boy/man, one girl/woman), Gender Inclusive Duet (one or more athlete(s) who do not identify as girl/woman or boy/man)
All other categories (i.e. Team events) are open (no gender restriction)
The first step in adoption will happen this summer. USAAS will pilot an inclusive competitive option at the U.S. Junior Olympic Championship and the U.S. Masters Championship in 2023. For this year, athletes competing in the boys/men duet, gender inclusive solo and gender inclusive duet categories may do so without qualifying through regional championships.
In 2024, all categories will be offered at sanctioned and national events. Qualification standards will apply to all categories for U.S. Collegiate Championship, U.S. National and Junior Championship, U.S. Youth Championship and U.S. Junior Olympic Championship for 2024 and beyond.
To help provide clarity around the new policy, USA Artistic Swimming will host two virtual town halls, one for athletes-only and one open to all members, so individuals can provide feedback and ask questions. Information and links to join these sessions were sent to all registered members directly. To read the full policy, you can download the document on the page HERE.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“As a transgender artistic swimmer, I was really nervous when I came out to my team, but the synchro community has been so incredibly supportive. It is amazing to see USA Artistic Swimming put policies into place to make people feel safe and included, especially in a year full of anti-trans policies,” Cameron Seidman, USAAS member, said.
“The Gender Inclusion Policy goes beyond ensuring athletes' safety and fairness, it’s about promoting a culture of inclusivity and respect. Our policy marks a significant milestone for artistic swimming and creates a more equitable future by embracing gender diversity. With the introduction of our new categories, we hope to provide a welcoming and empowering environment for all athletes. I am thrilled to see the positive impact this change will have on our community, and I look forward to supporting all athletes in their pursuit of excellence,” Emma Tchakmakjian, AEC President, said.
"USA Artistic Swimming's Gender Inclusion Policy is setting a standard for all sports and their delegations. It provides a safe, supportive, welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all athletes without prejudice. It also celebrates the athletes and members of our incredible organization and promotes the growth of our sport. It's an honor to be part of USA Artistic Swimming to help expand diversity and promote the loving values that this federation represents," Bill May, USAAS Athlete Representative, said.
“Inclusion is at the forefront of USA Artistic Swimming’s mission. After many discussions and planning, we as an organization are proud to launch this policy and committed to ensuring that all athletes experience an inclusive competitive environment. I am proud of the direction our organization is taking for our athletes and members through DEI. I am looking forward to continuing to change the look of our sport through our initiatives,” Ashley Johnson, VP of DEI, said.