Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who claims to be a woman, suggested that women athletes who criticize Thomas for competing in women’s sports are “transphobic” but too scared to say so.
Thomas made the comments — which included the charge that seeing men as men and women as women was derived from “patriarchal ideas” — while speaking to former NCAA swimmer Schuyler Bailar, who claims to be a man, on Bailar’s podcast.
Asked about the letter sent to the NCAA, warning against its rules permitting Thomas to participate in women’s sports, Thomas responded, “They’re like: ‘Oh, we respect Lia as a woman, as a trans woman, whatever, we respect her identity, we just don’t think it’s fair.’ You can’t really have that sort of half-support, where like, I respect you as a woman here, but not here.”
“You can’t do that; you can’t sort of break down me as a person into little pieces,” Thomas declared.
“They’re using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs,” Thomas insisted. “I think a lot of people in that camp sort of carry an implicit bias against trans people, but don’t want to, I guess, fully manifest or speak that out. And so they try to just play it off as this sort of half-support.”
“At the end of the day, everybody’s trying to — under a true feminist — is everybody trying to come together to sort of break down these patriarchal ideals of what a woman is and who can be a woman and sort of open that up to the very broad range of possibilities that there are,” Thomas concluded.
Back in December, parents of Thomas’ teammates sent a letter to the NCAA. “The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport,” they charged. “What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?”
Former University of Kentucky star swimmer Riley Gaines, who has been at the forefront of the cause for protecting women’s sports ever since she was deprived of a fifth-place medal at last year’s NCAA championships by Thomas, recently said, “I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that around the country, female athletes who protested the inclusion of Lia Thomas in the women’s division were threatened, intimidated, and emotionally blackmailed into silence and submission.”