Lia Thomas Debate: Through Inaction, NCAA Operated a Circus at Championship Competition

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Lia Thomas Debate: Through Inaction, NCAA Operated a Circus at Championship Competition

Virginia’s dominance and repeat as champion.

The individual excellence of Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh.

Backstroke brilliance from Katharine Berkoff and Regan Smith.

Several American-record performances.

The aforementioned storylines were highlights of the NCAA Women’s Championships, which wrapped up on Saturday night at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta. And over four days, these exploits received attention for their excellence – but not to the level that was due.

No, this edition of the competition has been defined by controversy, specifically the inclusion of University of Pennsylvania transgender woman Lia Thomas. Over the past three days, Thomas captured a title in the 500-yard freestyle, placed fifth in the 200 freestyle and eighth in the 100 freestyle, that latest effort arriving on Saturday night.

As someone who underwent male puberty before transitioning and moving from the men’s team to women’s squad at Penn, Thomas possessed major advantages over the biological women against whom she raced. She’ll say the playing field is even. She’s wrong. But Thomas competed within the rules established by the NCAA – and that is where the problem lies.

Simply, the NCAA abandoned its women’s athletes, and its four days of competition equated to a charade. With Thomas in three fields, there was illegitimate racing. Outside the competition venue, there were protestors. Inside the facility, there was tension. On social media, there was ample discussion, some civil and much not. Make no mistake: Attention at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Champs was not solely where it belonged – on the athletes.

It’s a shame.

It didn’t have to be this way.

And it’s the NCAA’s fault.

Of course, there will be assertions that the coverage – including here at Swimming World – played a role in the spotlight shifting to Thomas. And I’m not going to shy away and dispute that this website and magazine have not focused heavily on the topic. We have. But we’re a news organization and it is our role to not only report what is unfolding, but to take stances on certain issues. And, obviously, the position here is that women’s rights and women’s sports need to be protected – which they have not been. The NCAA had to be called out. It needed to be challenged for what transpired this season, and for the future.

The Lia Thomas saga may have started a couple of years back, when Thomas opted to transition to a transgender woman. But the story truly began to impact this sport, and this particular NCAA season, when Thomas popped a pair of nation-leading times in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle at December’s Zippy Invitational in Ohio. It became apparent then that Thomas would be a factor on the national scene, having vaulted from a middle-of-the-road male athlete to a top-ranked female.

Immediately, questions were asked. How could an athlete surge from also-ran status to title contender, and that shift not be considered improper? How were Thomas’ clear advantages from male puberty (height, strength, testosterone level, hand/feet size, lung capacity) not triggering alarms with organizations such as the NCAA?

The NCAA can never say it was ignorant to the subject. Because the issue was quickly raised here, by Champion Women, by the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, by State of Swimming and by anonymous parents and athletes (more on that later), it was clear that the issue wasn’t going to fade away and was a significant matter. Most recently, a group of University of Texas alums made their voices known.

The NCAA had the opportunity to act during the winter, specifically when its Board of Governors discussed the issue of transgender participation at a meeting in Indianapolis. Rather than implement its own guidelines, the NCAA kicked the issue to various national-governing bodies, including USA Swimming, and indicated it would abide by the rules set forth by those institutions.

When USA Swimming stepped forward and announced stringent rules for transgender participation, the NCAA balked. It didn’t like what emerged from Colorado Springs and decided it would grandfather in new bylaws – notably easier to meet than those adopted by USA Swimming – and Thomas was eligible to race in Atlanta.

It was the latest in a long line of NCAA actions which reflect the organization’s disinterest in, and ineptitude handling, women’s rights, and equal opportunities for female athletes. Remember last year’s bubble-environment for the NCAA’s basketball tournaments. Before the organization was called out and fixed the situation, the women’s training equipment was nothing more than a rack of barbells. Meanwhile, the men were provided with a state-of-the-art facility. More, men’s and women’s athletes have been treated differently in regard to which meals and gifts have been supplied during tournament competition.

When Title IX was enacted nearly 50 years ago, it was intended to provide women with equal rights in educational and federally funded settings. Yet, there remains a chasm in treatment, and the Thomas situation has revealed as much.

Beyond the NCAA, clamps have been put on the athletes affected by Thomas’ ability to compete in a women’s sport. The Ivy League as a conference, and its eight schools individually, told its swimmers to shut up and accept the way things are. More, even if athletes wanted to speak out, they couldn’t. The moment someone speaks out against the unfairness present in racing a transgender woman, they are labeled transphobic and bullied into a corner – with concerns arising as to how that perception may affect their future employment and personal lives.

During the NCAA Championships, a group of Ivy League parents penned a letter which addressed these concerns and the nature of a painful season. The truth is, the NCAA Championships merely signaled the end of the campaign. However, the entire winter season has been marred by the lack of support from the NCAA and the unfairness of Thomas in the water.

“Even as some people began to advocate on their behalf, the universities and the NCAA continued to ignore women,” the Ivy League parents wrote. “Several of us wished to remove our girls from the schools. We offered to pull them, bang on doors demanding fair treatment, any action they wanted to take. Already handling the emotional burden of knowing their perspectives were unwanted, their treatment not important, their lives a blur of studying and training, they could handle no more pressure to alienate what was left of their world.”

So, congratulations to the NCAA. At this championship meet, it created an atmosphere that was a circus – just without the Big Top.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

149 Comments
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Sarah
10 months ago

Why do you keep calling a man her and she? He’s a man. This lying is a large part of what caused this problem. Men cannot become women. It’s impossible.

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Jake
10 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

You can be kind and respectful to people and what makes them comfortable and still debate the issue of inclusion based on what is fair and unfair biologically. Did it really trigger that much to that you couldn’t just shrug and not type this comment?

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Still Swimming
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

When we call a man a “woman” or a “female” and use “she” and “her” to describe him we are legitimizing the idea that he actually is of the sex that produce ova (eggs) i.e., female, when he is not.

Also when he claims access to women’s sports and women’s spaces, if we’ve already allowed him to claim womanhood it becomes much harder to not let him have the same “rights” as other “women.”

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Common Sense
10 months ago
Reply to  Still Swimming

Exactly Correct.

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Gowdy Raines
10 months ago
Reply to  Still Swimming

Yeah therein lies the problem, some of us are for people having equal rights while apparently others are not. This is just like what the conversation used to be for gay marriage and will resolve in a similar way. You’re scared of changing societal norms and will eventually learn that the world isn’t ending, women’s rights aren’t ending, women’s sports isn’t ending, all will be just fine.

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Trans Is Not a Real Thing
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

wrong, this is different than gay rights. Gay/Lesbian is a real thing. Trans is not.

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Paul Carter
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

Gender is a physical reality defined by internal and external body parts, not by mental feelings. Make athletes present birth certificates in order to qualify as male or female.

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Marian Berkowitz
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

Gowdy? Equal rights? No one is denying that he/she cannot aspire to overturn nature. However, “man” is not that powerful. Nature’s creation is what it is and “man” cannot change it, much as he/she might wish to. No matter how many chemicals are involved, Lia still has a “y” chromosome that it is impossible to rid oneself of. Has absolutely nothing to do with “societal norms”.

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Jack
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

You obviously dont have a daughter

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Anthony
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Your suggestion that “still swimming” doesn’t have a daughter is irrelevant! You are asking others to pretend that a biological male, masquerading as a woman and unfairly empowered by the NCCA, be treated as a real woman. It’s an oxymoron to state that a man is a woman and vice versa. You would have to be living in a fantasy world to accept such a fallacy!

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Harry
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I have a daughter who will be swimming D1 next year, the 500 free is one of her events, and I agree with Jake. There is TONS of evidence to suggest Lia should not be swimming with the women. Ranking, times, size, scientific studies, etc.

Those legit things are severely undermined when you resort to making this an argument about pronouns.

How Thomas wants to live and be called isn’t our business. So it shouldn’t concern us. With what group Thomas swims IS. Just focus on the data, not your emotions, behind that, and people who have to make decisions are going to be a lot more likely to listen to you

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Em Em
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry

It IS my business when a man wants to APPROPRIATE my and every other woman’s sex-based OPPRESSION, and COLONIZE & OCCUPY the sex-segregated, SAFE spaces that women fought for to protect ourselves and our children from sex crimes.

And the point that many have made here is important: When we go along with the internal fantasy of a man who claims to be a woman, how can we then deny “her” the ability to compete in women’s sports?

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Nicolle
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

Excelled response! Women are just plain tired of being appropriated in every space we fight to break through. This is SCIENCE plain and simple. It is ridiculous that a institution of higher learner turned their heads to win a SPORT to appease people who want to live in a fantasy world. HE went through puberty as a male. HE was competing poorly against his own counter parts in the sport. HE put himself above other fellow athletes that have dedicated their life to this sport. Everyone posting here understands these athletes are competing for money, notoriety and a chance to be able to compete at Olympic Medal level? So this is not just a simple little issue. You are talking about college scholarships worth hundred of thousands of dollars. Endorsements worth millions at the highest levels of competition. STOP being ridiculous. This has nothing to do with wether He wants to be a SHE. 1. I do have daughter(s) that played in travel A softball. 2. I don’t care what HE wants to be I care about fairness. Imagine you a parent spent your life on a field every weekend, traveled across the country and your child sacrificed dances and events to compete? Then you get to college and someone tells you that a male who WENT THROUGH PUBERTY wants to be a woman can pitch faster than your daughter so suck it up! NO, everyone of us is allowed our opinion. Those of us that don’t want to live in this fantasy land FOR OUR DAUGHTERS sake have an opinion also.
This is a male dominated world allowing men to intrude on a women’s life at no cost to them. The NCAA is 100% responsible for this circus we just watched play out.

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Sue
10 months ago
Reply to  Nicolle

Excellent posts Em Em and Nicolle.. You both nailed it. The “woke” culture has gone way too far. They are actually a small percentage but you wouldn’t think so with the way all this baloney has been crammed down our throats. Nicolle, your daughter and all the girls/women who have lived lives of sacrifice and dedication to their sports deserve a medal of honor. And so do all the parents who love their kids so much that they have made personal sacrifices for the betterment of their children. Lia did not deserve the medal he received but did deserve the silence of the crowd when that medal was presented. The one good thing this has done is really open up the discussion on this bizarre subject. Hopefully some will really get “woke” as to how unfair and ludicrous this was.

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Sue

As Nicolle mentioned this is a real financial issue. Years of hotel rooms for potential earning to be lost to males infiltrating sport. NCAA can likely be sued for this action. There are lost “earnings potential” to be discussed.

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Nicolle

Facts. 85 percent head coaches male in swim and I think 20 out of 25 NCAA Board members. Rice coach spoke up. I am hearing crickets from the rest who did not defend their women’s teams.

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Nicolle

There is an article quoting the UPenn girls that they complained about exposure in locker room and were told they had to make Lia feel comfortable. No rights for any of the girls there. Another infringement and legal issue.

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Gowdy Raines
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

You know that females also transition to males right? You use the terms of social justice but are actually propagating tired old bigotry like the idea that transgendered people are sexual predators like pedophiles. This is honestly just the same as any other stereotype, do you also consider gay people to be a threat to yourself or your children in terms of sex crimes?

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Alfred
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

I am getting in some quarters that gay people are tired of being pulled in and used as a foil for trans nonsense. Leave gay people alone. They did not fight their battles to be used by trans people for instant justification of their gender nonsense.

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Alvin
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

You are way off course here. And when you try to change the discussion it makes it obvious that you do not have a logical basis for your ideas. Any person is allowed to believe they are the opposite sex, but their personal belief does not define them in society.

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XY = Male
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry

With whom Thomas swims is part of “how Thomas want to live”. Once you’re complicit in his gender dysphoria through use of his preferred pronouns, there’s no limit. He’s a “she” along with all the insane consequences that go with that.

Tell me again how it’s accepted medical practice to encourage a schizophrenic’s paranoid delusions?

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Mom of a Women’s NCAA Champion
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry

Exactly

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Gowdy Raines
10 months ago
Reply to  Harry

Times eh? Like how Lia Thomas was 9 seconds off of Ledecky’s record in the 500? Like how Lia Thomas was slower than last year’s winner in the same event? You’re the one not focused on the data friend.

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DrB
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

Considering best time for same race in December, guessing this race was thrown and done so intentionally…

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Barry Bong
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

It’s more respectful to tell the truth. Lia Thomas is a man intruding on women’s spaces. Not just the pool, but the locker room, dangling his dick about like the filthy exhibitionist that he is. It’s a disgrace.

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SETH
10 months ago
Reply to  Barry Bong

Barry, you have a very vivid imagination!

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Sue
10 months ago
Reply to  SETH

May seem vivid but a completely correct point. I would never have wanted to be in a locker room shower area with a man. I was self conscious enough around the other girls!!

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Sue

It is actual ABUSE of women. What about any who have experienced trauma at hands of man? But – they just want this man comfortable in the new gender role, never mind the 15 years all the girls sacrificed to be there!

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Alvin
10 months ago
Reply to  K C

Just another example of the misogyny of the NCAA, and legislators and judges in some states. Whatever happened to NOW? Did that organization fade away, or are they too timid to stand up for women’s rights?

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Aaron
10 months ago
Reply to  Barry Bong

Oh, you’ve seen it?

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Em Em
10 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

I doubt Barry has seen Lia’s unmentionables, but the girls on Penn’s swim team have.

A man exposing his junk to unwilling viewers is called “Indecent Exposure” and is a crime. Well, unless the man doing the exposing claims to be a woman.

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Sue
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

You’ve got that right, Em Em!

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

UPenn and NCAA are guilty of many crimes. Abuse of women with the indecent exposure. Creating trauma and depression for college experience being ruined. Taking away potential earning of those shut out by a man. Lost investments of families who spent for years. And more…

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Barry Bong

Yes. Will changed his name and took hormones. That would still make my 6-3 male D1 destroy my female D1 swimmer. I have two in NCAA swim. Absolute KICK in face to all the girls and everyone is aware!

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Anthony
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Sarah simply expressed truth on the will

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Anthony
10 months ago
Reply to  Anthony

Will Thomas debacle! I applaud her for doing so. You don’t get to dictate how others express themselves!

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Anthony

Yes you do when it comes to indecent exposure which is against the law.

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Ken
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

He speaks the way adults speak. Besides, why should he not type the comment that almost all people believe. Just because you don’t agree no matter how much you want to believe that Lia is a woman, it will never be true. That truth does not make people who know that Lia is a male haters or bigots or anti-transgenger. So basically you prefer that if someone does not agree with you, they should shut up and be quiet. Realville does not work that way.

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Common Sense
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

???

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XY = Male
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

It’s “just shrugging” that has led to this insane state. Trans women are not women.

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  XY = Male

We now have mens/transmen team and women/transwomen team. There is NO women’s team anymore and no more level playing field for women. We have gone back to square one of women’s rights!

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Jessica Lambert
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

You have to shut up when you tell people to be kind and respectful because this MALE athlete clearly could care less about being respectful to the women athletes.
jake you’re an absolute pimp study science and quit giving stupid opinionated replies instead of facts

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Trans Is Not a Real Thing
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Because we sane people arent going to legitimize the notion that a man can become a woman and vice versa. It’s not real and it’s damaging in many ways.

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DrB
10 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Women are no longer allowed to use the word breastmilk because trans men aren’t comfortable, that’s ridiculous to point of insanity…. we’ve crossed into lunatic levels of inequality and ya’ll should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to use PC bs to justify further subjugating Women.

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Gary Thompson
10 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

You see words don’t have a “definitive meaning”, actually. Like how the word literally can be used now as the word figuratively I believe in some iterations of dictionaries they have included that as a second definition of the word. Likewise gender may have always or certainly now has at least two meanings. Because people think differently about what that word means, the word conceptually has two different meanings whether or not people realize it or not. To some it’s an expression of something subjective based in how they feel and men and women feeling a certain way or something whatever great. And to others it’s not so much as an abstract expression but more of a representation of someone’s biological sex even though you can’t really know someone’s biological sex by looking at them actually. English is hard semantics are painful but communication is important and clarity is a necessity.

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Terven
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary Thompson

How would a man know what it feels like to be a woman? He’s a man and will always be a man, he has no idea whatsoever.

This other meaning of ‘gender’ as a shorthand for ‘gender identity’ really just means “I am a man who wants to be a woman” (or vice versa). Usually based on some pornified, fetishized fantasy of themselves as the opposite sex.

The whole transgender thing is basically just cross-dressing fetish that’s got way out of hand.

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Aaron
10 months ago
Reply to  Terven

Interesting how you point out, “how would a man know what it feels like to be a woman?” But you claim to know that trans people are just fetishizing cross-dressing. Have you considered that you have no idea how trans people feel?

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DrB
10 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Have you considered no man knows what it’s like to have a period from 12-55 and have constant monthly cycles of hormones that chemically change ur entire body to prepare to give birth and then swell and cramp and bleed for days and then eventually get pregnant and grow a baby and breastfeed? Lol. In terms of identity, almost always being physically inferior and socially subjugated by men, bonding with women over monthly cycles of exhaustion, fears or joys of pregnancy, lolllll so trans women are what now? Lol

Look bud—idk how trans people “feel” but I know it’s surely absurd to suggest if you don’t biologically experience being a woman that you have any fxn idea what it’s like to be one physically. So drop the “feelings”… we’re talking about objective realities here.

That’s not a biological woman, sorry.

Last edited 10 months ago by DrB
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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Take LeBron James and all the starting Villanova basketball players, give them hormones and change their names. Put them on women’s teams. How many women lose their spots on the court as starting players and lose future wnba opportunities? This is reality! Women are doomed.

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Still Swimming
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary Thompson

Studies show that toddlers (or even younger) can actually tell men from women.

Beyond that, words have meaning, especially when it comes to laws, where they have to be precise. Ditto for NCAA rules.

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Ken
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary Thompson

Biological sex can be determined by a physical exam. So yes, you can determine the sex of a human by looking at them. Also there are tiny things called chromosomes. They can be seen via microscope….by looking at them.

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Jim
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary Thompson

Sex and gender do not vary independently, that is a fact! Your utterances are nothing more than social constructivist claptrap!

Last edited 10 months ago by Jim
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Sue
10 months ago
Reply to  Gary Thompson

That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.

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Cosmas Bisticas
10 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

Comment is correct, and represents a lot of people although most won’t openly admit it. Good job for posting what should be obvious.
Personally I think that women should have refused to compete against him.

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Roberto Garay
10 months ago

Lia Thomas is now the bearded lady. Women should balk and not jump in the water as long as aquamam’ is there.

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Aaron
10 months ago
Reply to  Roberto Garay

Name-calling… ?

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

That’s rich, considering the way “transphobe” gets thrown around like some sort of scarlet letter insult.

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Spedrunr
10 months ago
Reply to  Roberto Garay

That would be hilarious if they all stood on the blocks, and as soon as the gun goes off he jumps in and swims alone?

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lady strong
10 months ago
Reply to  Spedrunr

I agree, ladies be strong, stay on the blocks and let “him” swim alone, that action will make a profound statement.

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K C
10 months ago
Reply to  Roberto Garay

UPenn and Ivy League likely will lose recruits. No way Moms want girls exposed to this in locker rooms or on the blocks.

Last edited 10 months ago by K C
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Catherine
10 months ago

Excellent article, finally some truth speaking out. Everybody needs to come together to stop this madness, and something need to be done when it comes to the NCAA, so many years of fighting to finally got a place into sports world cannot be shattered by a wrongful administration of an NCAA. We have to come together and fight.

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Jenna
10 months ago

Trans women are women. Lias success in the pool this week was earned. ???

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Irishannon
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

A trans woman is not a woman, when the word “TRANS” is being used as an adjective.

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Direlda
10 months ago
Reply to  Irishannon

Other adjectives placed in front of “woman,” such as “athletic” or “intersex,” don’t make a woman cease to be a woman. So the fact that trans is being used as an adjective to modify the noun woman doesn’t really imply that a trans woman isn’t a woman.

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Alfred
10 months ago
Reply to  Direlda

Gaslighting does not a woman make. “Trans” as a modifier does indeed imply that, and it is necessary to distinguish biological women from biological men, because trans people started this modifier business after all. “Athletic” is not a gender identity modifier. Just stop, you are not fooling anyone.

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Direlda
10 months ago
Reply to  Alfred

The website kept eating my comment, so I’m just going to point out that I was addressing an argument on the syntactic/grammatical nature of trans as an adjective and not on the semantic, ontological, or taxonomic aspects of the word.

Because by Irishannon’s argument, your use of biological women indicates that those individuals are not women when the word biological is being used as an adjective. We both know that is a nonsensical argument. Just because a word is an adjective does not mean it creates a semantic shift in the noun it modifies on the basis of it being an adjective. Athletic woman does not shift the meaning of woman to be something else, but specifies what sort of woman is being referred to.

And you might want to avoid using biological women and biological men in the future because by using those terms you imply that within the category of women there are women who are biologically women and women who are not biologically women and that within the category of men there are men who are biologically men and men who are not biologically men. Because biological is specifying what sort of women and men are being discussed by indicating it is the biological subcategory rather than some other subcategory or the whole category. In other words, that the biological aspects are not part of the definitions of women and men and rather denote a subset of women and men. And I don’t think you wanted to tacitly support the idea that one can be a woman without being biologically a women since that is what “trans women are women” conveys.

Also, in the past, as pointed out in Coming On Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Sport by Susan K. Cahn, athletic did carry connotations of masculinity. It was thought that athletics would make women masculine and so the sorts of athletic opportunities for women in the early 20th century were regulated to protect them from becoming too masculine. That by being athletic a woman became mannish and, thus, less of a woman. I disagree with this connotation and am glad it has become more and more obsolete over the years.

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XY = Male
10 months ago
Reply to  Direlda

Nice try. But your argument is fatally flawed. The use of “biological woman” is a response to the term “trans woman”. No-one who believes that womanhood is an immutable characteristic would use the modifier “biological” if not for the bastardized use of woman in “trans woman”.

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Em Em
10 months ago
Reply to  Direlda

Yeah, like “sea horse” is a horse in the sea, or something… /s

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Direlda
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

I take your /s to indicate that you are well aware that “sea horse” is a compound noun and that you know that compound nouns have a meaning that is distinct from the meanings of their constituent parts.

To illustrate this for people who aren’t aware, consider green house vs greenhouse. A green house is a house that is green in color, likely from having been painted a shade of green, because green is an adjective modifying the noun house. A greenhouse (in one sense of the word) is a building for growing plants designed to trap the heat from sunlight because greenhouse is a compound noun. And while the meaning of greenhouse draws from its constituent parts, that meaning is distinct from just combining those two meanings.

And like sea horse illustrates, not all compound nouns come as a single word. Context helps distinguish whether one is dealing with a compound noun or with a noun being modified by something else, such as the difference between “He is eating a hot dog” and “That is one hot dog, look how much it is panting.”

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Van Rijn
10 months ago
Reply to  Direlda

Just like “trans woman.” A “woman” (with no qualifiers) is an adult human female. A “man” is an adult human male. The term “Trans woman” refers to a gender identity that some human adult males hold. Only males can be trans women. Gender identity means absolutely nothing when it comes to the physical issues involved in sports. Lia Thomas is a male, not female. Lia Thomas is not a woman. I feel trans people should be supported where reasonable, but this is not reasonable.

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Marian Berkowitz
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

When one can show two x chromosomes, one is a woman. No man can do that, and nature made it that way. How else would we havw reproductivity?

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Barry Bong
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

Trans women are women in the same way that a fake dollar is a dollar.

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Anthony
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

Jenna! Are you also masquerading as a woman? In reality, Will didn’t succeed in the pool. He was really swimming against himself while infringing on women’s space with permission from the NCAA. There was a lot of booing after he was done with his charade. He is the epitome of an oxymoron!

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Debbie
10 months ago
Reply to  Anthony

So true! He should be the butt of many jokes for this cheating charade.

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Desu
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

The only people who truly believe that trans women are women are trans women. The rest of us know trans women are men and think all of you are insufferable.

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

Jenna, define “woman” for us, would you please?

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peg
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael

XX chromosomes. Science.

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  peg

That’s what I thought. I actually heard one of the pro-trans demonstrators say that “science proves” trans women are women. I’d like to hear the “scientific” explanation for this. Only men can be trans “women.” Until the powers that be recognize the difference between men who self-identify as “women” and (no adjective necessary) women, this nonsense will continue. Trans “women” are real people, but they are not “real women”

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Tobi
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

So glad to hear a positive voice among the filth. Stay strong.

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Ellen coughlin
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

Trans women are women. Really?!! You just said they’re trans women. That’s not the same. What are you not getting?

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SallyFox
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

I agree that Trans women are women. Given the particulars of this specific case though, I don’t believe it was fair to allow Lia to compete with the women.

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Trans Is Not a Real Thing
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenna

Wrong, Trans is not a real thing. “Trans Women are MEN” facts.

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Terry Watts
10 months ago

So is the debate still focused on the insurmountable physical advantage???

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Alfred
10 months ago
Reply to  Terry Watts

I sincerely hope you come back as a woman in this culture in your next lifetime. You will never get it otherwise.

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Terry Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Alfred

I sincerely hope you one day become mature enough to handle a civil dialogue.

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Terry Watts

The issue is whether he’s a woman in the first place (he’s not). You understand why men separately from women, right? And yes, as a man, he has an unfair physical advantage. Whether that advantage is “insurmountable” is irrelevant( e.g.somehow who takes performance enhancing drugs is cheating, win or lose).And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he tanked on purpose at the end to take the heat off.

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael

“Men compete separately from women”

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Sue
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael, your last sentence is what my husband said yesterday.

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Veritas
10 months ago

The decision by the NCAA to let Lia Thomas compete changed its outcome.

Three women (Tylor Mathieu, Reilly Tiltman and Isabel Ivey) won’t receive the All American aware that they earned. Reilly Tiltman and Isabel Ivey were recognized as All Americans in two other events, but this is the only All American award that Tylor Mathieu earned. She is a junior, did not earn All American status last year and there was no meet when she was a freshman. Who knows what happens next year, but this decision might deprive her of the only All American Award that she earned.

Three women (Reka Gyorgy, Ekaterina Nikonova and Chloe Stepanek) did not receive the All American Honorable Mention status they earned.

But, wait, there is more. Despite swimming faster at night, Tylor Mathieu placed 11th in the 500. Had she swum the same time in the finals where she deserved to be, she would have placed sixth. That’s seven less points for Florida, which finished 13th. With seven more points, Florida placed 11th.

Still not done. Isabel Ivey placed 9th in prelims of the 100, but should have been swimming in finals with an 8th place prelim swim. She finished 13th instead of 8th. That’s 9 fewer points. Cal finished 4.5 points behind Michigan and should therefore have been 7th, not 8th.

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Toby
10 months ago

Many of the same arguments were used to keep sports segregated. FYI

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mouse
10 months ago
Reply to  Toby

Segregating sports by sex is a good thing, it keeps the cheating men from infiltrating the women’s competitions under the false pretence of being a woman too.

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Bradley Swenson
10 months ago
Reply to  mouse

There was the guy in England who entered a weightlifting competition in the women’s division. He made no effort to dress or even look female; in fact he sported a beard. He not only won the deadlift competition, but I believe he set a world record in the event. He did it simply to make a point, which I applaud. Simply identifying as a woman doesn’t make it so.

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Debbie
10 months ago

That is the absolute ? truth of this matter. The heads of the NCAA is not willing to listen to anything other than what they believe. Which is sad for Title IX as we know it! LT should be made a fool of by swimming in the pool by himself. That would send a clear message to all that females are not going to stand by quietly and let this travesty happen!

Last edited 10 months ago by Debbie
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Em Em
10 months ago
Reply to  Toby

Except in reverse. You have it backwards.

For example: women were not allowed to run in the Boston Marathon for its first 75 years. Not because of women’s “gender identity” but because of their “sex.”

Throughout American history, including in my lifetime, women have been legally denied the same opportunities as men, including in sports. Much like black men were denied the same opportunities as white men, including in sports.

Black men’s oppression is not based on a feeling of being black in their head, much like women’s oppression is not based on a feeling that they are a woman in their head.

Men who claim to be women can simply change their appearance and their “oppression” disappears. Not so with women and black men.

Beyond that, we segregate sports by age and sometimes by weight – is that discrimination? Or just to ensure something close to a fair competition?

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Veritas
10 months ago
Reply to  Em Em

Originally, the Supreme Court used the phrase invidious discrimination to denote what was unlawful. Because we obviously discriminate all the time. We don’t let 10 year olds vote or 45 year olds enlist in the Marine Corps. Simple discrimination by age, sex and, in combat sports, weight, creates fair competition. Not being able to under the difference between that and invidious discrimination, just like not being able to tell the rather simple difference between males and females, creates tremendous difficulties.

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G holmes
10 months ago

Thank you so much for this piece. You spoke on a heated topic in a way that was logical and very eloquent. Your words made sense and no one can say they were full of hate or transphobic. Hopefully great journalism like this will be eye opening and bring rationale back to the minds of those who make the rules.

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Black Sunshine
10 months ago

If you can impregnate a woman, than you are not a woman.

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Terry Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Black Sunshine

No, as he points out, Incels are not men.

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OceanSpirit
10 months ago

Thank you, John, again for your support of women’s sports. Without you, there would be no place for these young women to have their side of the story told and for us to speak on their behalf since they have been muzzled by UPenn, the NCAA and the Ivy League.

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Stevie-G
10 months ago

Stop bashing Aquama’am

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Bradley Swenson
10 months ago

I wonder if ‘Lia’ sandbagged the other two races in which s/he lost miserably. It was a way of saying, ‘See, there’s nothing special about me. I’m just a good long-distance swimmer.’ His/her/its dominance during the season tells the true story. The swimmer was a national champion in one event, and that was all it took.

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Joe
10 months ago

Agree!! Winning all three would have garnered way too much attention. Look at the splits!

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Stevie-G
10 months ago

Aquama’am was upset about y’all biggots for not letting her adapt her switch to easy difficulty in peace after being destroyed in men’s league. Shame on you!

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Debbie
10 months ago

Another male swimmer said he tanked some of his competitions because he might have gotten a lot of heat from the Trans community for making them look bad. But his face at the end if the race might have given him away. LT is a narcissist and a cheat.

Last edited 10 months ago by Debbie
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Joe
10 months ago

They should make the 17th place qualifier in all of “her” events an automatic Hon. Mention All-American, and the 9th qualifier a 1st team AA! Where all the coaches of those girls who got screwed out of places, finals, and a championship (in the 500)? Why aren’t they speaking out?! Cowardice? Or fear of losing their jobs to the woke mobs on every campus?

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago
Reply to  Joe

I think labeling the 17th place qualifier an”Hon. Mention All-American” would be an insult! Those young ladies are All-American. Put an */* next to Thomas in the record tables indicating him as a dickhead cheater.

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Joe
10 months ago

All I really meant was that 17th place qualifiers should be given the same status as all the 9th-16th qualifiers. I guess that means 2nd team (not Hon. Ment.), but still All American. I misspoke.

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago

Thank you for the great article. I’m enraged. I attended the meet on Sat. I was disappointed that there weren’t more people protesting the circus. Thank goodness for those that were there to support fairness in women’s athletics. I brought a sign to protest “NCAA F’d XX’s Again”. The other side was much more in the provocative, “DQ the Dick”. I was told by a man (a father of a female swimmer?) that it was inappropriate. I responded, “The NCAA is inappropriate.” Within 5 minutes, I was escorted from the stand by 2 GT security because my sign was “offensive”. I asked to speak with a supervisor (about my right to free speech) who parroted, “that’s vulgar, there are children here. I wouldn’t want my son to see that.” (I’m sure her son hears worse at school or at home.). At that point, a uniformed GT cop came over and asked if “security” told to leave. Although they hadn’t, the message was clear shut up or leave. Not being brave enough, I trashed my sign and returned to my seat. Today, I’m ashamed and wish I had caused a greater ruckus, sat down and yelled, “Hell no I won’t go. If the suit don’t fit DQ the dick”!!!
How did I become so complacent. My children are grown but I do have a granddaughter and grandniece who some day will wonder why I didn’t speak up about this injustice towards women and fair competition. I received a copy of “Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport” from Beth Steltzer. Thank you x3! I’m educating myself on how to counteract the arguments of the transgender community. Please read Linda Blade’s book. Wake the lions and lionesses and advocate for women!

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Debbie
10 months ago

Yes, that is a clear message! Well at least you tried. But I for one rather have LT swim all by himself, that would make him look very foolish indeed! He is making a mockery out of this whole situation because he was just mediocre on the men’s swim team. For Penn State also. How is that fair to his team mates???

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Girl Dad!
10 months ago

Adam and Eve!!!

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Girl Dad!
10 months ago

In the beginning created was a man and woman. No in between!!!

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William Klinke
10 months ago

This is So Wrong,So Unfair!!! He Should be ashamed of himself

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Alvin
10 months ago
Reply to  William Klinke

LT has no shame. In his delusional mind he thinks that he is a woman. He might “wake-up” when he is a 60 y/o and a physician reports an elevated PSA.

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Mom of a Women’s NCAA Champion
10 months ago

I am so discouraged by all the bigotry we are all witnessing. This issue is not about whether being a transgender is right or wrong. The message from people opposing the NCAA’s decision to allow Lia to compete against the women is completely diluted by all the bigoted commenters.
I appreciate this article for its non- bigoted substance. I want to protect women’s sports and I do not believe it is fair to allow transgender females to compete against cis females. For all of you who were at the meet this past weekend holding up vile signs and yelling out cruel obscenities at the kids on deck-shame on you. You do not represent the vast majority of people who are against the NCAA’s decision to allow Lia to compete. Hopefully the non- bigoted dissenters will start speaking as loudly as the bigots. I support Lia as a transgender woman but I do not think there’s any way to spin this issue in a way that will make her competing against cis females as fair.
Save women’s sports and quit using this issue as an excuse to spout off your garbage- it’s not effective and is counter productive.

Last edited 10 months ago by Mom of a Women’s NCAA Champion
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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago

While we may want the same results, fair and safe sports for girls and women, it’s hard to hear your argument when you name call anyone with differing opinions on how to achieve those results as bigots/transphobic.

Many people are frustrated because their concerns are ignored resulting in language that may be offensive to some. (The “kids” use that same language or worse themselves.). Telling one group to be quiet because you don’t like the language used is also counter productive. Isn’t it the same as the Penn telling its swimmers to be quiet and visit the mental health clinic if they disagreed with the Penn narrative. Don’t wrap yourself up in virtue; I bet you’re glad your daughter didn’t have to share a locker room with Thomas. Congratulations to your daughter on her win. Some others weren’t giving that opportunity.

We need both types of fighters to save women’s sport because some just won’t listen otherwise.

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago

Calling those who have opposing views or use language not to your liking bigots/transphobic is also counterproductive. Teammates of Thomas expressed concerns about Thomas’ inclusion on the team and access to their locker room but were told to be quiet and visit the mental health clinic. Do you agree with that or are they bigots too? They were silenced and you want to silence views other than your own. I bet you’re glad your daughter didn’t have to share a locker room with Thomas so don’t try to sound so virtuous.

We want safe and fair women sport. We disagree on how that can be achieved. So far, being polite and respectful hasn’t worked. If being loud, obnoxious and sometimes offensive makes others take notice, then that’s what we need to do.

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago

Sorry for the double post. The 1st didn’t show up until I posted the 2nd.

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XY = Male
10 months ago

If you indulge the “trans women are women” fantasy then you have no right to object to their full and unfettered participation in female sport.

It’s not bigoted to point out the root cause of the problem.

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Mom of a Women’s NCAA Champion
10 months ago
Reply to  XY = Male

Word choices are important. Lia is a kid. The NCAA made this mess.

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Amazon
10 months ago

I agree that the NCAA and all the people supporting this bear responsibility, but Lia is 22(?) and has been a competitive swimmer for years. He knows that his participation will mean girls who trained equally as hard will lose out. So he did make a choice to screw those girls.

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago

At 18, individuals are lawfully considered adults. Thomas is 22. Maybe not holding people accountable for their own actions is part of the problem. Thomas chose to compete as a woman. He could have stepped down. The NCAA only contributed to the mess. The empowerment idea that you can be whatever you want to be has been highjacked by transgenders and, once again, girls and women suffer the consequences.

I wonder, if I identified as an 8 yr old, how many age-group records I could smash?

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XY = Male
10 months ago

Will is an adult. This mess is caused by the insistence that 2+2=5 by people such as yourself. It’s far more disrespectful to insist that we all pay lip service to a lie than it is to state the objective truth: trans women are not women.

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Amazon
10 months ago

How does that make sense?

You claim you want to “save women’s sports” but if you think Lia is a woman, which you do (and I don’t), why shouldn’t he be allowed to compete against other women?

He’s either a man or he’s not. If he’s not, then he shouldn’t compete with women. And he shouldn’t be in their locker rooms. What is bigoted about that?

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Amazon
10 months ago

I just want to add that I, a woman am so creeped out that these men not only want to come into our spaces but they want to be us, as if they’re wearing our skin or something.

I don’t know any other group besides women, who always have to be nice or get called the B word, that would allow this, that wouldn’t protect themselves and that wouldn’t be allowed to protect themselves.

Only women have to give everything up.

And then we have people like you calling us “bigots” and renaming us as “cis.” It is so offensive.

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Ken D.
10 months ago

What a joke! Cheater! I’LL TAKE MY CRITICISM BACK WHEN “SHE” GIVES BITH TO A BABY!

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steve
10 months ago

I agree with this. The NCAA IS A JOKE.

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Billy byrf
10 months ago

Lia is man no matter what is missing

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy byrf

Nothing is missing.

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Maribeth kahle
10 months ago

He should not be able to compete agaist women. Period.

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David Hutchinson
10 months ago

It’s been said in the article. Lia Thomas basically completed full male puberty with the benefit of larger lungs, hands, arms, back development and larger feet. Lia hasn’t even developed breasts. When you actually see him/her your eyes don’t lie. I have nothing against Trans folks however when a middle of the pack male swimmer decides to transition to female, still having male attributes, that’s cheating. I’m willing to accept Lia when he/she becomes truly more feminine. However, today he/she is a man in a woman’s swimsuit and should be asterisked and the 2nd place holder should be deemed first and the third place, second and the fourth place third.

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Common Sense
10 months ago

There should be Events For Transgender Athletes if they choose to compete. They should NOT change the rules to suit their Lifestyle choices chosen by themselves. GOD made MAN and Woman.If you chose different Cool for you! But Don’t Intrude where It’s Not Competing on A Fair Playing Feild. WHAT THE HE !! HAS HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE??? SMH

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Common Sense
10 months ago

The Left want us to Believe all this Lying Baloney they are trying to cram down our throats… They have Lost touch with Reality. God Help U.S. All… ?

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Mau
10 months ago

Is the editor admitting that women are inferior and weaker than men?

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Wanted to Compete
10 months ago
Reply to  Mau

No. Let me women-splain this for you. Men are inherently physically stronger than most women but for you to imply that women are inferior to men or are weak shows why Title IX legislation was needed in the first place.

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Mau

When it comes to strength/speed/endurance sports, men have a biological advantage. That’s news to you?

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Darlene
10 months ago

I do not believe Liar should be swimming with the girls. He only came over to the woman’s swim team when he couldn’t win on the male team. He can NEVER change the fact he’s a male. If it where me these girls need to protest to get him off their team. Liar can go make his own trans team if he wants to swim. It’s wrong in sooooo many ways for him to be taking these girls opportunities, dreams, and future’s away from them all because of this ego. Soooo sad.

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Squiggy Wigginz
10 months ago

Michael Phelps should do this 6 months before the next Olympics just to prove a point!

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SETH
10 months ago

If anything, this comments section is the circus, and John Lohn is the Ring Master.

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Gowdy Raines
10 months ago

Great to see everyone here is essentially stuck in “marriage is between a man and a woman” mode, eventually you’re going to come around to viewing people as the gender they identify as and will try to pretend that you never held the views that you’re expressing (just like many do on gay marriage and LGBTQ rights in general). Until that time just remember that you’re talking about a fellow thinking and breathing human being, and you should treat her with the same respect you would offer to any other of your fellow humans beings.

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Trans Is Not a Real Thing
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

Nope, you are wrong. That will never happen because a man can NEVER be a woman, and a woman can NEVER be a man. Gay marriage is different because it wasn’t defined well enough, to begin with, and has nothing to do with science. But hey, you keep living in the fantasy world where science and facts don’t apply. Mark my words… this TRANS thing will NEVER be accepted because it is not a real thing. TRANS DOESNT EXIST

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Michael
10 months ago
Reply to  Gowdy Raines

Tried to post another earlier response, maybe censored (not sure why, I am trying to be civil here). This is an entirely different/separate issue from gay marriage. If Lia wants to call himself a man, go ahead. Likewise, he can marry any consenting adult of his choice. What he can’t do is force me to accept that he he’s a woman simply because he self-identifies as such. I’ll never accept this post-modern gender ideology nonsense; it’s counter factual. A false construct. As other commenters call it, gaslighting.

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Kat Mann
10 months ago

Born XY chromsomes – thats a man. swim as a man. NCAA is a joke!!

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Trans Is Not a Real Thing
10 months ago

I think it’s overwhelmingly obvious how the majority of people feel about this. You’ve got about a 99/1 ratio here supporting the idea of TRANS. The 99% are correct, TRANS does not exist, never will.

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John
10 months ago

Tracy Caulkins 4:36 in 1979 – yes, 43 years ago – with a virus and without modern suits, underwaters. With those she would have won today so all the swimmers in 2022 were comparatively mediocre. I am against Lia swimming in women’s races but her competitors did hand it to her on a plate! And as you say, Mr. Lohn, it did unfortunately take attention away from amazing swims by the people you mentioned at the start.

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K Hall
10 months ago

Bruce Jenner said, “I don’t think biological boys should compete in women’s sports – we have to protect women’s sports… that’s the bottom line.”

“I don’t see how you can be happy beating other girls under these circumstances. You have to have a sense of personal responsibility. You can still enjoy sports but not play at a competitive level, right?” Jenner asked. I Jenner said, “I don’t think biological boys should compete in women’s sports – we have to protect women’s sports… that’s the bottom line.”

“I don’t see how you can be happy beating other girls under these circumstances. You have to have a sense of personal responsibility. You can still enjoy sports but not play at a competitive level, right?” Jenner asked.

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Miss.K
10 months ago
Reply to  K Hall

Yup I seen that!!! Probably the first sensible thing lately!

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Adam
10 months ago

stop hating on Aquama’am!

Last edited 10 months ago by Adam
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Tim
10 months ago

I agree its unfair for biological men to compete in women’s competition sports, however I have to call you out on your statement, “…we’re a news organization and it is our role to not only report what is unfolding, but to take stances on certain issues.” Nope, if you’re a news organization you report news. News you agree with or news that you don’t. News is not opinion and a news organization should stay away from opinion.

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Persona
10 months ago

Thank you, John Lohn.