Two doctors have told the New York Times that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has a “biological advantage” over her opponents.
Thomas, a biological male who competes against collegiate female athletes, made national headlines after he won the women’s 500-yard freestyle in March.
Mayo Clinic doctor Michael J. Joyner, who studies the physiology of male and female athletes, recognizes the competitive advantages transgender athletes like Thomas hold over their female counterparts.
Transgender swimmer UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas (Screenshot)
Although prepubescent girls develop faster than young boys, any competitive advantage is destroyed at the onset of puberty. “You see the divergence immediately as the testosterone surges into the boys,” Joyner told The New York Times.
After puberty, “there are dramatic differences in performances” between men and women, according to Joyner.
“There are social aspects to sport, but physiology and biology underpin it,” Joyner continued. “Testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla.”
Elite male swimmers set records 10 to 12 percent faster than elite female swimmers, on average, according to the Times.
The outlet noted that Thomas “rose substantially in national rankings” when he entered women’s meets. For example, instead of a 32nd place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle when competing against men, Thomas finished in eighth place swimming competitively against women. Similarly, he ranked 65th in the men’s 500-yard freestyle but won the championship competing against women.
Lia Thomas just took first place at the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Women's Swimming & Diving Championships in the 500 freestyle. #SaveWomensSports pic.twitter.com/UWvDQMYHRJ
— Colin Wright (@SwipeWright) March 17, 2022
Even though Thomas took one year of hormone-suppressing therapy to deflate testosterone levels, as required by the NCAA, his biological advantage is not inherently gone.
Dr. Ross Tucker, a sports physiologist, said that Thomas is “the manifestation of the scientific evidence.” “The reduction in testosterone did not remove her biological advantage.”
Lia Thomas after winning the Ivy League Championships (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Most scientists recognize the performance differences between men and women as “near immutable.”
As the Times reported:
Most scientists, however, view performance differences between elite male and female athletes as near immutable. The Israeli physicist Ira S. Hammerman in 2010 examined 82 events across six sports and found women’s world record times were 10 percent slower than those of men’s records.
Dr. Carole Hooven, a Harvard lecturer and co-director of undergraduate studies in human evolutionary biology, said that far-left activists are confusing the distinction between “sex” and “gender.”
“Activists conflate sex and gender in a way that is really confusing,” Hooven told the Times. “There is a large performance gap between healthy normal populations of males and females, and that is driven by testosterone.”
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