The father of a University of Pennsylvania women's swim team member said his daughter and other biological female teammates "realize that they will never, ever be able to beat" Lia Thomas — a biological male who's transitioning to female and recently has been breaking records as part of the UPenn women's team, Fox News reported.
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Thomas "is most likely going to be representing you and I and all other Americans at the Olympics," the father, who has a medical background, said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
The father spoke on the condition of anonymity over fear his views could bring "actual physical harm" to his daughter and family, the cable network said. He added to Fox News that others are staying mum as they believe "there's nothing they can do about it. They are stuck."
"Part of the reason these little girls get so excited about this is because they see themselves possibly being [at the Olympics]," he told the cable network. "There's a shot that they can do it if they swim hard enough, if they work hard enough, they got it, they can do it. Anybody can do it."
He wondered to Fox News, "But now what do you say to your daughter? You got Lia up on the blocks, taking a spot from a cisgender woman on the Olympic team. How do I tell my daughter that could be you one day? You can’t. You can never be her."
The cable network said he added that, "Yes, your daughter can still participate in athletics and reap a lot of the benefits of athletics, but she'll never be on the podium."
Thomas has been receiving testosterone suppressors for nearly three years and competed on the UPenn men’s team before switching to the women's team in 2020, Fox News said.
The transgender female swimmer is slated to compete at next month's Ivy League championships and has qualified for the NCAA Division I championships in March, the cable network said. What's more, Thomas has turned in better times this season than several collegiate swimmers who competed in last summer’s Olympics and swam the nation’s best times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle last month, Fox News said, citing the New York Times.
The College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America called on the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee to temporarily expand this year’s participation limit by one spot so Thomas "and the other cisgender women athletes who have earned the right to compete" can do so, the cable network reported.
'My daughter hates it'
The father who spoke to Fox News said Thomas’ cisgender teammates are "very upset" about the turn of events.
"My daughter hates it. She doesn’t think it’s fair," he told the cable network, adding that while his daughter hasn’t lost opportunities to Thomas, "other girls have and will, because the coach is going to take" the swimmers with the fastest times.
The dad added to Fox News that his words aren't about transphobia or bullying — just fairness to women.
"All the swimmers like Lia, she’s a wonderful person and very nice," he noted to the cable network, adding that Thomas has been "nothing but polite" and is "not doing anything against the rules."
Collegiate records may fall
However, the father also revealed to Fox News that there are fears that Thomas will beat records held by Olympians Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin during the NCAA championships, which are slated for March 16-19 in Atlanta.
"Lia is going to go to the NCAA’s, and she’s going to take down Katie Ledecky’s record, she’s going to take down Missy Franklin’s record, and it’s not because she is an exceptional woman," he added to the cable network. "It's not because she is the pinnacle of female athletics, which Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin are."
A report this week indicated that some of Thomas' teammates are uncomfortable with the transgender female in the same locker room. "It's definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women," a member of the swim team said, adding that although Thomas sometimes wears a towel, there's still a fair amount of nakedness, and team members have seen Thomas's private parts.
Earlier this month a female UPenn swimmer claimed Thomas arranged to lose a recent race to a Yale biological female — who is transitioning to male but hasn't taken hormones yet — to prove men aren't always stronger than women.
- In December a biological female swimmer on the UPenn squad spoke out against Thomas being allowed to compete with them, saying "I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do." Soon a second swimmer acknowledged that the entire team is "angry" over the unfair situation.
- What's more, the UPenn women swimmers reportedly wanted to boycott the Jan. 8 meet over the Thomas situation but didn't as they were "afraid to be perceived as transphobic."
- If that weren't enough, a UPenn female swimmer said Thomas identifies with a legendary baseball player who broke the major league's infamous color barrier: "She compares herself to Jackie Robinson. She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports."
- However, both UPenn and the Ivy League have issued statements supporting the inclusion of Thomas in women's competitions.