Lia Thomas – a biologically male swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania – has been obliterating female competitors while competing as a transgender athlete. The conundrum of Thomas benefiting from a biological advantage over female competitors pushed UPenn swimmers to consider boycotting the team's final home meet. However, the Ivy League swimmers ultimately decided against boycotting the swim meet because they were afraid of repercussions for being "perceived as transphobic."
Thomas, 22, competed as a male for three years at the University of Pennsylvania before undergoing a year of testosterone suppression treatment and becoming a transgender athlete to compete against women. This year, Thomas has smashed multiple UPenn and Ivy League women's records while competing as a female. During the 1,650-yard freestyle race at the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron, Ohio, Thomas blew away the second-place finisher by a whopping 38 seconds.
After Thomas continued to destroy female swimmers, tensions began to surface. An anonymous UPenn swimmer voiced her concerns over her transgender teammate.
"Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this," the swimmer told Outkick. "Our coach [Mike Schnur] just really likes winning. He’s like most coaches. I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do."
A second anonymous member of the UPenn swim team explained how competing against a biological male is demoralizing and unfair.
"They feel so discouraged because no matter how much work they put in it, they’re going to lose," she told Outkick.
Thomas allegedly bragged about being the best female swimmer in the country.
"Well, obviously she’s No. 1 in the country because she’s at a clear physical advantage after having gone through male puberty and getting to train with testosterone for years," the swimmer said of Thomas. "Of course you’re No. 1 in the country when you’re beating a bunch of females. That’s not something to brag about."
Teammates allegedly became so frustrated over the situation that they considered boycotting the team's last home meet.
A source close to the team of 41 women told the Daily Mail, "They've been ignored by both Penn and the NCAA, and there is a feeling among some of the girls that they should make some sort of statement, seize the opportunity while they have a spotlight on them to make their feelings about the issue known."
However, the swimmers likely won't participate in a boycott at the Jan. 8 meet against Dartmouth in fear of consequences.
"Knowing they do not have backing from the school or NCAA, they're reluctant to jeopardize their opportunity to make the elite Ivy League squad," the source told the outlet.
Some of the swimmers have purportedly considered other types of protests such as a "false start."
A parent of one of the swimmers added, "It's possible the swimmers may end up doing nothing because they are so afraid to be perceived as transphobic."
"If it were me, I'd step up with a sign on my chest stating something like - 'NCAA - Speak up. We need answers,'" one parent told the Daily Mail.
On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed the "Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation." The executive order declared that any school that receives federal funding must allow biological males who identify as females to compete in girls' sports teams. Schools that don't fall in line face possible administrative action from the Education Department, which includes the loss of federal funding.
Penn's Lia Thomas Opens Up On Journey, Transition To Women's Swimming www.youtube.com