16 UPenn Swimmers Say Lia Thomas Should Be Banned from Women’s Competition

Lia Thomas
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

As many as 16 of Lia Thomas’ teammates have said that the famed UPenn transgender swimmer should be banned from competing.

Published in the Washington Post, a letter from Thomas’ teammates says that while they affirm his transition into becoming a woman, they also recognize how his biological sex has given him an advantage in swimming.

“We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically,” the letter said.

“However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity,” it continued. “Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female. If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.”

The teammates did not identify themselves in the letter, most likely out of fear of repercussions.

Lia Thomas previously competed for the UPenn men’s team for three seasons as Will Thomas before undergoing hormone treatments for two years. He became a controversial figure late last year when he dominated the competition at the Akron Zippy Invitational, smashing university records and pool records when he won the 1650 race by a whopping 38 seconds over his teammate.

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, finishes the 200 yard Freestyle for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard...

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, finishes the 200-yard Freestyle for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

As Breitbart News reported on Wednesday, USA Swimming updated its transgender policy in response to the controversy, which may render him ineligible to compete in the championships.

Changing its rule from one year, USA Swimming ruled this week that transgender athletes must have recorded low testosterone levels for 36 months. Thomas only started “transitioning” in May of 2019.

The organization added that its policy “relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level-playing field for elite cisgender women, and to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology.”

“The elite athlete policy will be implemented by a decision-making panel comprised of three independent medical experts,” the organization added.

On Tuesday, another group of Penn swimmers released a statement supporting Thomas and rebuked an anonymous teammate who criticized his advantage in a statement to Fox News.

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, warms up before swimming for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League meet against Harvard University in...

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, warms up before swimming for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition,” the athletes said. “We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds.”

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