World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam said they will set up an “open category” that will include transgender competitors. He said the event would take place in the future among other races, but gave no details. Reports suggest it could be this year. At the World Aquatics Congress in the southwestern Japanese city of Fukuoka, Al-Musallam said that this is a complicated subject but he is happy to share that World Aquatics is making plans for the first trial of an open category. World Aquatics had previously banned transgender competitors from major events like the Olympics and world championships. He said, “Nobody should be excluded from our competitions.” The topic has been divisive and many governing bodies in major sports have avoided it. And there will be many questions to answer as the first trial event unfolds under the eyes of lawyers and scientists. In March 2022, American swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships in Atlanta, becoming the first transgender woman to claim a national title in swimming. Thomas became a leading symbol of transgender athletes — stirring both opposition and support — when she joined the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team after competing for three years on the men’s squad at the Ivy League school.