Lia Thomas suggested on a recent podcast that women whose support for so-called "trans women" is conditional are "fake feminists" and cast his critics as bigots. He further stressed that real feminists should be interested in breaking down "patriarchal ideals of what a woman is," especially if those ideals link womanhood to biology.
Schuyler Bailar, the transvestite athlete who hosted the podcast on which Thomas appeared, raised the matter of a February 2022 letter written by Olympic champion Nancy Hogshead-Makar to the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League on behalf of 16 members of the school's female swim team.
The letter asked that the school not challenge the NCAA's new transgender athlete participation policies, as they would exclude men who experienced puberty, such as Lia Thomas, from competing against women in the March NCAA championships, reported CNN.
"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," said the letter.
It went on to say, "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."
Thomas spoke on "Dear Schuyler" to the letter, saying it is "frustrating in the regard that 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.' And I think you can't really have that sort of half support where you're like 'oh, 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," added the former male athlete.
Bailar noted that the fight to protect women's sports has become a big movement, executed "under the guise of feminism. Oh, we're just feminists. We're just fighting for women."
Thomas agreed, later saying, "They're using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs. 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."
After arguing that feminists who sought to keep men out of women's sports were ideologically incoherent, Bailar likened the corresponding claim of seeking fairness on the basis of sex to the ambivalence of racists about black women competing in sports.
"Please tell me why are all these women, you know, in tears? Why are they crying? What is the pain that trans women are causing them? And the answer was something about opportunities being taken away," said Bailar, adding, "It was the same exact arguments that came up when black women began to be in sports. ... You don't want a woman who doesn't look like you, perhaps, or who is fitting your version of womanhood to win."
Thomas, having ostensibly agreed with Bailar's remarks, suggested that "transphobia in sports" should be contextualized more broadly in "patriarchal ideals of what a woman is and who can be a woman."
The Independent Council on Women’s Sports responded to the podcast, tweeting, "We agree with Lia Thomas on one thing: 'You can't really have that sort of half-support.' We do not in ANY way support the injustice of male participation in women's sports. We are all in for female athletes. Not half. ALL in."
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) wrote, "There is nothing anti-feminist about saying that Lia Thomas, a man, should not be participating in sports with women. Feminists, and all women, should be outraged that a MAN has the nerve to tell them how they should feel about him invading their spaces and sports competitions."
TheBlaze previously reported Thomas was a middling performer on the University of Pennsylvania men's swimming team until he starting taking hormones in 2019 and competing against women.
He went onto crush records set by females in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA championships and tie with All-American all-female swim star Riley Gaines for fifth last April in the women's 200-meter. According to Gaines, it was around that time Thomas exposed his male genitalia in a women's locker room.
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