Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won an Ivy League Championship in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event Thursday, beating most of her competitors by about one lap, according to multiple sources.
Thomas, who competed on the University of Pennsylvania men’s team for three years before adopting a transgender identity, beat the second-place 500 free swimmer by seven and a half seconds and the third-place swimmer by more than ten seconds, according to an event summary.
Sixteen women on the University of Pennsylvania swim team said their transgender teammate, Lia Thomas, should not be allowed to compete in the women’s category, The Washington Post reported.
The teammates sent a letter to the university and to Ivy League officials asking that they not take legal action against new NCAA rules which would block Thomas from competing in the 2022 championships, according to the Post. The women said they supported Thomas’s decision to live as a transgender woman, but they say “the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity.”
A female swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania said the school brushed off her and her teammates’ concerns about sharing locker rooms with a male swimmer, the Daily Mail reported.
She and her teammates felt uncomfortable sharing locker rooms with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who has male body parts and is reportedly “attracted to women,” according to the Daily Mail.
The NCAA changed its policy on transgender athlete participation Wednesday as concern mounted over swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, identifying as a woman and immediately dominating the sport.
Transgender athletes will need to show testosterone levels within their sport’s approved range four weeks before championship selections, according to the new rules. They will need to document their testosterone levels at the beginning of the season as well as four weeks before championship selections in the coming academic year.
Lia Thomas, a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, shattered records after transitioning from male to female and joining the women’s team.
Thomas, who is biologically male, competed for three years on the men’s team before moving to the women’s team after transitioning, the Daily Mail reported. NCAA rules require males to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment before they can compete in the women’s category.
Thomas’s top time for the 500 Free event in the male category was 4:18.72. Thomas won the 500 Free while competing against Villanova and participated in eight regular season events as a male in the 2019-2020 season.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that sports organizations allow biologically male, transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports without lowering their testosterone levels.
The IOC stated that no athlete should be excluded from competition based on unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage due to biological sex in a Tuesday report. The report says athletes should compete in sports based on their self-determined gender identity and should not be subject to “targeted testing” to determine biological sex.
“We’re not often heard,” Cynthia Monteleone told a trio of female senators Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill. “Though we are just three of thousands that this is happening to.”
Monteleone is a world champion track athlete who competed against a transgender competitor in the 2018 World Masters Athletics Championships in Málaga, Spain. Dressed in a white pantsuit with a fresh tropical flower tucked behind her ear, she spent Wednesday and Thursday urging Republican lawmakers to fight back against biological males competing in women’s sports.
Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has eliminated religious conscience exemptions for doctors who are forced to perform gender-alteration surgeries, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The move represents yet another crucial and widely-popular policy that was first enacted by President Donald Trump, only for Biden to reverse it. HHS announced on Monday that to overturn this policy, it would be expanding its definition of sex discrimination so that sexual preference and “gender orientation” would be included among identities that could be considered discriminated against by such a policy.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement in which he claimed that “people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination.”
The NCAA signaled that it may pull championship games from places that stop biological males from competing in women’s sports.
The collegiate sports league released a statement on Monday reaffirming that it supports “the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports,” which is grounded in the value of “fair competition.”
“The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” continues the statement. “Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill into law Thursday barring transgender athletes in public schools and colleges from competing in women’s sports.
The bill, SB 2536, is the first of such legislation to be signed into law this year, though similar initiatives have appeared in other states across the country. South Dakota’s Senate sent a similar bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday.