Lia Thomas: Outrage as UPenn trans swimmer breaks women's records after trasnsitioning from male

Lia Thomas: Outrage as UPenn trans swimmer breaks women's records after trasnsitioning from male
It it unclear when Thomas transitioned from male to female, but she had competed as a man even in November 2019 (Twitter)

Lia 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, 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. In January, Biden inked an order allowing transgender athletes with girls but it was not without opposition. 


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Who is Lia Thomas?

It is unclear when Thomas transitioned from male to female. However, it is known that she had competed as a man even in November 2019 on the male swim team. As per NCAA rules, at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment is required to be able to compete as a woman.

“(Swimming) is a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was five years old,” Thomas, co-chair of the UPenn club Non-Cis, told Penn Today this past June. "The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid. Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like? Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding.”

The Department of Justice this past June said that laws in Arkansas and West Virginia that prevent athletes who were born as men from competing in women’s sports were unconstitutional. “The United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including students who are transgender, can participate in an educational environment free of unlawful discrimination,” the DOJ said in court documents filed in a West Virginia court.

However, there is no dearth of controversy when it comes to topics like these. Many took to social media to express their dissent over Thomas being allowed to compete with women. “Well of course women’s records are being smashed!” tweeted Chicago-based sports performance coach Linda Blade. “Lia competed as male for first three years in #NCAA. This is not right! We need to return to #SexBasedSports! #SexNotGender to preserve fairness for female athletes.”


"How can people justify this? This is a man. He should be ashamed of himself," one user wrote. "Lia Thomas is a man who went through male puberty, & swam on men’s teams for almost his entire career. #NoThankYou #SaveWomensSports," another user said.



"Why would you enjoy such a 'win'? It's like a heavy-weight beating a middle-weight fighter. It's like living in LaLa-Land," one user wrote, while another wrote, "Bwahahahahahahah!!!! This is “Lia Thomas” who is destroying women’s swimming records.. This person officially competed as a man for his first 3 damn years of college.. Now this person competes as a “woman”.."



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