Lia Thomas: Women 'uncomfortable' changing in locker room with trans UPenn swimmer
One of the swimmers said that some of the team members have even spoken to the coaches about asking Thomas to change elsewhere
A member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team has claimed that teammates are uncomfortable changing in the locker room in transgender swimmer Lia Thomas's presence. Thomas has reportedly said that she dates women. “It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” the swimmer said.
The swimmer said that some of the team members have even spoken to the coaches about asking Thomas to change elsewhere. Those discussions, however, have not led to any solution. “Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” the swimmer said. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”
“It’s really upsetting because Lia doesn’t seem to care how it makes anyone else feel. The 35 of us are just supposed to accept being uncomfortable in our own space and locker room for, like, the feelings of one," she told Daily Mail. “The school was so focused on making sure Lia was okay, and doing everything they possibly could do for her, that they didn’t even think about the rest of us."
The swimmer said that Thomas “seems like she enjoys” the attention she gets due to the controversy around her. “It’s affected all of us way more than it’s affected her,” Thomas’ teammate said. The swimmer also claimed that the teammates are afraid of talking about their issues because they might be labeled “transphobic". “If this gets a little bit bigger, I might go on the record, but I’m definitely a little afraid,” she said. “What I’m afraid of is that potential employers will Google my name and see commentary about things I said and think, oh, this person’s transphobic.”
A lot of controversies have surrounded the transgender swimmer in recent times. Thomas, 22, is a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who has been shattering women’s records at the school. Thomas competed for three years at Penn as a man, Will Thomas, before the transition. At a meet on November 20 last year, Thomas had a 1:43:47 time in the 200-meter freestyle and 4:35:06 in the 500-meter freestyle. These times, which were records for Penn, would have placed Thomas second and third, respectively in the NCAA Women’s Championships. Thomas breaking women’s records has, like always, raised questions about how fair it is when people who are born as men compete as women. There has been a lot of debate surrounding what is fair on the field, the court, the track, and in the pool.
As per NCAA rules, at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment is required to be able to compete as a woman.