‘Women are now third-class citizens,’ UPenn swimmer speaks out against trans teammate

“Women are now third-class citizens,” A University of Pennsylvania swimmer proclaimed to the Washington Examiner after transgender teammate Lia Thomas once again dominated the pool against Harvard this weekend.

These statements followed an announcement last week from the NCAA regarding a new policy on transgender athletes, according to BPR, which mandated that athletes “document their testosterone levels at the beginning of the season as well as four weeks before championship selections.”  The NCAA stated in a press release that this policy “preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes while balancing fairness, inclusion and safety for all who compete.”

Not so, said the anonymous teammate, who declined to identify herself because she feared that it would harm her future in the sport. She told the Examiner,  “I am typically liberal, but this is past that. This is so wrong. This doesn’t make any sense.”

“I can’t just sit back and let something like this happen,” she continued. “It’s embarrassing that people aren’t speaking out more.”

“It’s crazy because I don’t actually know if Lia thinks this is fair,” she noted. ‘This can’t possibly be rewarding in any way. I can’t see how anyone could feel good about this.”

Lia’s teammate expressed frustration with the current policies clarified recently by both the NCAA and by USA Swimming — which stated that swimmers could “change their competition category consistent with their gender identity and criteria for athletes qualifying for or competing in elite-level competitions” — and pointed out that “Thomas was not as good a swimmer when competing against the men but thrived against women…but just because Lia is biologically a man, she is just naturally better than many females in the 50 and the 100 or anything that she wasn’t good at as a man.”

During the Harvard meet this past weekend, Thomas predictably dominated again at her events, the  Women’s 100m and Women’s 200m Freestyle races.

Thomas’ teammate continued to vent to the Examiner: ‘The top people at NCAA, who are on the board of directors … they are not protecting women’s rights,” she said. “Imagine if there was this kind of inequality in men’s sports? Or someone found out about doping in a men’s sport. It would be fixed in a blink of an eye. Everyone would be all over it. But because it’s women, they don’t care.”

The frustration expressed by this teammate comes on the heels of a brewing controversy that emerged last week after another UPenn swimmer accused Thomas, 22, of plotting to lose to a trans Yale swimmer in early January to “prove that a woman can beat her,” in response to the backlash she has faced since joining the women’s team this year.

This other teammate also chose to remain anonymous in her discussion with the Daily Mail last week, indicating that she felt that Lia just didn’t give it her best effort during the event against friend and transgender swimmer Iszac Henig, who is transitioning from female to male.  “You can tell when someone is dying and they’re swimming slow,” the swimmer added. “You can also tell when someone is not trying and I could see that Lia was not trying.”

The frustrated UPenn swimmers are not alone in their condemnation of the current guidelines allowing transgender athletes to compete based on gender identity.

None other than Caitlyn Jenner has spoken out about this, falling on the side of the women, telling Fox News last week: “She was born a biological boy. She was raised as a biological boy. Her cardiovascular system is bigger, her respiratory system is bigger, her hands are bigger, she can swim faster. That’s a known.”

“All of this woke world that we are living in right now is not working,” she continued. “We need to protect women’s sports and the NCAA needs to make the right decision tomorrow, and I think that is probably to stop this right now. Rethink it.”

Reaction on Twitter towards this issue, and Jenner specifically, was polarized:

 

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