Media Silent as Ivy League Transgender Man Beats, Humiliates Women

Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas smiles after setting a meet and pool record in the 200-yard free
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Male swimmer Lia Thomas and his Ivy League allies publicly snatched several athletic prizes from gagged women during the weekend, yet the pro-transgender establishment media ignored the sexual drama.

“They’re just trying to blunt force this [transgender claim] through,” said Natasha Chart, a feminist activist and critic of transgenderism. “They’ve got this strategy of smearing and shouting down their opponents now that they can’t absolutely shut down the [public] debate.”

Mainstream sites, such as Breitbart News, covered the dramatic events, amid the remarkable silence from the New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. “The editors at all of these publications won’t stand up to charges [by pro-transgender activists’ claims, so] articles will get pulled or people will get fired,” said Chart. “There’s no critical thought, there’s no willingness to engage in debate on the topic.”

The issue is not whether a man can take swimming prizes from women. The issue is whether the establishment and its media can redefine the meaning of women and men, amid many polls that show growing public hostility to the transgender claim that “gender identity” is more important than male-or-female sex.

The New York Times showcased the don’t-engage strategy on November 16, the day before Thomas dived into the pool with the Ivy League women. An article in the paper downplayed Thomas’s male nature and instead played up past debates over standout female athletes. “The womanhood of women athletes was always questioned when they were really good,” said a quote in the article, which was headlined, “Trans Swimmer Revives an Old Debate in Elite Sports: What Defines a Woman?”

“It is a pathetic and misguided state that any argument against Thomas’ participation is immediately deemed to be an indication of transphobia,” Swimming World reported after Thomas’s weekend smash-and-grab. “No, the arguments against Thomas are about fairness, and for the Ivy League to play the transphobia card is arrogant, ignorant, and insulting. Really, it is a sign of the conference taking a bully approach and using such a strong term to intimidate and deter those willing to speak out.”

Before the meet, the Ivy League pro-transgender officials suppressed objections from women swimmers. But they allowed pro-transgender displays at the weekend event, according to an ESPN report February 19:

The controversy of the past two-plus months was muted throughout the four-day Ivy League championships. Harvard alum Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender swimmer to compete on a Division I men’s team, draped a transgender flag over a railing near the pool deck.

Thomas, who has declined multiple interview requests from ESPN, was congratulated by rivals after her wins and high-fived by teammates on the podium. Penn senior Andie Myers wore a face mask bearing the transgender flag throughout the meet. The conference [organizers] made no swimmers available to the media at the meet.

“At the meet, the announcer opens with a warning against ‘racist, homophobic, or transphobic discrimination,'” said an on-scene report from Common Sense with Bari Weiss. “The parents say their daughters know it’s wrong that Thomas is swimming against them but that they will not risk getting smeared with the label transphobe.”

The Ivy League is using threats to silence criticism from women swimmers. For example, Swimming World reported on a letter from 16 swimmers who said:

We have been told that if we spoke out against her inclusion into women’s competitions, that we would be removed from the team or that we would never get a job offer. When media have tried to reach out to us, these journalists have been told that the coaches and athletes were prohibited from talking to them. We support Lia’s mental health, and we ask Penn and the Ivy League to support ours as well.

The displacement of the women was applauded by one of the women whose prizes were grabbed by Thomas, according to an article by ESPN’s pro-transgenderism reporter:

BOSTON — Miki Dahlke looked on as University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas sliced through the Blodgett Pool water on Friday night at the Ivy League women’s swimming championships.

By the end of the meet, Thomas’ name had supplanted Dahlke’s on three records, including the two set in this race.

“Records are made to be broken,” Dahlke said. “I am a faster swimmer because of fast swimmers of the past, and the future of swimming will be faster because of the women at the top of the NCAA today.”

The minimal media coverage also downplayed the many women who were pushed down in the rankings — and off the podium — by the Ivy League officials’ support for the male swimmer. Swimming World reported:

In the 500 freestyle at the Ivy Leagues, Thomas’ teammate Catherine Buroker was the runnerup, finishing more than seven seconds back. I don’t know Buroker’s stance on Thomas racing in women’s competition. Perhaps she is supportive. Regardless of her position, Buroker should be the Ivy League champion in the 500 freestyle, as Thomas should not have been in the field.

Thomas and his Ivy League allies are also humiliating women by changing in their locker rooms, said Chart.

This is definitely a form of hazing. If it was just Lia Thomas doing it [on his own] then you could say that it was at an individual level. But he’s doing this sanctioned by [President Joe Biden’s] administration. He’s sanctioned by the NCAA. He’s doing this sanctioned by Penn’s leadership, the college leadership. He’s doing this as a representative of some of the highest authorities in these young women’s lives, all lined up against them.

The public, however, is not accepting transgenderism’s ideological claim that the reality of sex is subordinate to each person’s choice of her or his “gender identity.”

Numerous polls show the public — including liberal women — increasingly rejects the transgender ideology. The new opponents include many liberal-leaning, college-educated women and men who hated former President Donald Trump and voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Even pro-transgender advocates admit they have lost the public argument over sex-switching athletes.

Amid the silence from the Democrats and their media allies, Trump is seizing the political opportunity. “We will ban men from participating in women’s sports,” he promised on January 29 during a Texas speech that mimicked a campaign rally.

He referred to the Thomas scandal, saying, “So ridiculous. Did you see the man who was on the swimming team at a certain school that I know very well? The [women’s swimming] record was held for like 11 years. He beat it by 38 seconds.”

Transgender advocates “never had a strategy for having a public debate about this because they were hoping that it would all be done and settled [before anyone noticed],” Chart said. She continued:

They don’t have a good strategy for anything — besides pretending it’s not really happening or damping down the debate — because there’s no way to make their argument stand up to the slightest scrutiny. It’s just not true that people can change sex, so there’s no way to get it past people other than keeping them from talking about the reality.

“It seems they’re just putting their hands in their pockets and trying to whistle past” public opposition, Chart said.


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