Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” Tuesday to come out of the shadows and break her silence over swimming with transgender Lia Thomas, claiming she was labeled “transphobic” because of her locker room concerns.
Thomas’ former teammate joins former UPenn swimmer Riley Gaines in taking a stance against transgender athletes. Scanlan did an anonymous interview with the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh last year for the documentary “What is a Woman?” She says she’s no longer afraid to come forward and is speaking out loudly on the issue.
“I think one of the biggest things for me is just seeing how much this has changed in the last year,” she told host Fox News host Laura Ingraham in her first cable TV interview. “I thought maybe this won’t continue to happen to other sports, maybe swimming is the exception. I’ve seen this blow up. There are cases of the track people in California. There is cycling, skateboarding, every single women’s sport imaginable has been infiltrated by biological males competing on the women’s team.”
“I decided that… it’s okay if I get some hate and I shouldn’t be scared anymore because I need to use my voice and encourage other women to speak out against unfair competition,” Scanlan added.
In her first television interview, Lia Thomas’ teammate @PaulaYScanlan joins @FoxNews’ @IngrahamAngle. Breaking her silence after UPenn intimidation, bullying + discrimination to shed light on the situation + share a message of encouragement + hope to female athletes + parents. pic.twitter.com/RYLfU2Twek
— Independent Women’s Forum (@IWF) June 7, 2023
During the time of the Walsh interview, Scanlan asserted that she was kept from speaking out against Thomas. She claimed that teammates would hide in bathroom stalls to avoid changing in front of Thomas as well.
“There was a lot of things we couldn’t talk about that were very concerning, like a locker room situation. If you even brought up concerns about it, you were transphobic,” she claimed. “If you even bring up the fact that Lia swimming might not be fair, you were immediately shut down, as being called a hateful person.”
Scanlan sat down with Matt Walsh for another interview on Monday night. She said she was ready to join Gaines in “fighting for women and girls across the country.”
She recounted to Walsh that the UPenn athletic department informed the team during a meeting that Thomas’ spot on the women’s team was “non-negotiable” and that there would be severe repercussions if they spoke to the media.
Hold onnnn but at minute 44 we see a new face emerge to the scene!!! Lia Thomas’ teammate, Paula Scanlan. She has insight and stories that are unfathomable. I’m so glad she’s ready to speak to the silencing, gaslighting, and discrimination we faced (her team at UPenn especially)… https://t.co/HTh1nc7gWC
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) June 5, 2023
“After that meeting, they really scared us. It was scary, and I was petrified,” Scanlan admitted. “I went home that night and I called my brother and said, ‘Can I even talk about this with you? Is there something wrong with me for thinking that this is wrong?’
“It worked. The university wanted us to be quiet, and they did it in a very effective way. They continued to tell us that our opinions were wrong and that if we had an issue with it, we were the problem. And it’s frightening, and your future job is on the line,” she recalled.
The former swimmer said she did get some support along the way and that she hopes that she will be able to inspire other female athletes to come forward and speak out to protect women’s sports.
“I have had a few teammates reach out and thank me for what I’m doing,” Scanlan noted. “There is support and might be limited, but they are there and there are people that understand fairness and understand biological reality. So I do have hope and hopefully, more girls can speak out not just on my team, but in other teams that have been affected by.”
I’m proud to support CT’s female track runners today in court. Courage is contagious & our team of strong female athletes is growing everyday!
— Paula Scanlan (@PaulaYScanlan) June 6, 2023
In April, Thomas gave an interview on Schuyler Bailar’s “Dear Schuyler” podcast, bragging about his accomplishments as a trans athlete. Thomas called anyone who believes it is unfair for biological males to compete with naturally-born female competitors in sports “transphobic.”
“They’re like, ‘Oh, we respect Lia as a woman, as a trans woman or whatever. We respect her identity. We just don’t think that’s fair.’ You can’t really have that sort of half support there using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs,” Thomas claimed.
(Audio Credit: Diversion)
Scanlan clapped back against those remarks. She called the differences between males and females just “basic biological realities.”
“Frankly, before any of this happened, I would never actually have considered myself a feminist,” she insisted. “I just thought that I understood basic biological realities and I believe in the truth, and I never thought any of that would be considered transphobic or feminism or non-feminism.”
As a Taiwanese citizen as well as a US citizen. I’m able to see first hand the impact the decisions we make in America have on the world. Americans we need to step up and do the right thing.
— Paula Scanlan (@PaulaYScanlan) June 6, 2023
Scanlan once again called for female athletes to speak out in defense of women’s sports.
“Definitely speak out as early as you can about it,” she said. “Raise concerns, make the environments that are letting this happen aware that you’re not okay with it. I think we really need to come together and use our voices. Get as many people as you can talking about this.”
“I think if we’ve really got the big crowd behind us, they can’t silence us any longer,” Scanlan concluded.
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