May 18, 2022 9:30 pm

Several companions of the trans swimmer Lia Thomas try to prevent her from competing with women



A group of teammates of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas urged university sports authorities in the United States on Thursday to follow the new rules of the American swimming federation (USA Swimming) that could prevent her from competing in the next championships.

In a letter sent to the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League by former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the 16 swimmers from the University of Pennsylvania they argue that Thomas should not be allowed to participate in women’s competitions.

Thomas has recently dominated U.S. college women’s swimming as a student and athlete at that university, where just a few years ago she competed as a man.

His case has divided public opinion: Some argue that she has an unfair physiological advantage, while others say that she should be allowed to compete freely as a woman.

On Tuesday, the governing body for swimming in the United States, ‘USA Swimming’, released new guidelines that include a stricter threshold for testosterone. These did not explicitly mention Thomas, but they were seen as making it difficult for him to compete in major events such as the Ivy League and National Association of Collegiate Athletics championships.

Even if some members of the University of Pennsylvania swim team expressed their support Thomas’s right to compete in a statement Tuesday, a part of the team said Thursday that she should not be allowed to compete in women’s competitions.

The names of the 16 swimmers were not included in the letter sent by Hogshead-Makar, executive director of Champion Women, a non-profit organization that provides legal advocacy for girls and women.

The swimmers argued that while they supported Thomas’s gender identity, “the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity” in the sport. «Biologically, Lia has an unfair advantage over her competitors in the female category», the letter said, noting that Thomas’s ranking changed from 462nd place as a male swimmer to first place as a woman.

The swimmers added that they had been warned they would be kicked off the team if they spoke out against Thomas.

“We support Lia’s mental health and ask the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League to support ours as well,” the letter added. “Sport is competitive by definition, and Lia’s victories, records and honors should not come at our expense, the women who have worked their entire lives to earn a spot on the Pennsylvania women’s swim team.”

The letter urged this University and the Ivy League not to try to legally challenge the new rules of ‘USA Swimming’ “so that we can finish our swimming season with distinction and pride.”

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