Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has been winning races and setting records all year for the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s team, who are increasingly against her participation.
Background: The first UPenn swimmer to comment on Thomas made an anonymous appearance on Fox News. That swimmer alleged Thomas has significant physical advantages due to going through male puberty which can not be suppressed by a year of hormone treatments.
Days later, the University issued an anonymous statement in support of Thomas’ transition and participation. A spokesperson said the statement represented “several” members of the swim team.
What Happened: A third anonymous statement has now been issued claiming to represent the views of sixteen members of the UPenn women’s swim team. While it supports Thomas’ right to “live authentically”, it criticizes official organizations for allowing her participation in women’s sports.
The Details: The letter reads in part:
We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically. However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity. Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female. If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.
It remains to be seen whether Thomas will swim at the 2022 NCAA championships in Atlanta this March, for which she has already qualified.