More than a dozen of Lia Thomas’s teammates at the University of Pennsylvania say the transgender swimmer should be banned from competing in women’s sports.
At least 16 women sent a letter to their school and Ivy League officials Thursday, noting that Thomas, who swam as a man with the name Will for three seasons, has an “unfair advantage” against biological females.
“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 published by the Washington Post reads. “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.”
“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,” they added. “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.”
After USA Swimming updated its transgender policy Tuesday, Thomas could be ineligible to compete at next month’s NCAA championships.
The teammates chose to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation.
The 16 women wrote that they were told they “would be removed from the team or that we would never get a job offer” if they spoke out against Thomas.
One parent told WaPo a senior swimmer who raised concerns to the coach was essentially told to “get over it.”