Lia Thomas Timeline: How the Heated Debate Over Transgender Inclusion Has Evolved

lia-thomas, transgender, penn swimming, ncaa

Lia Thomas Timeline: How the Heated Debate Over Transgender Inclusion Has Evolved

It has been eight weeks since University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas swam the fastest times in the nation in the women’s 200- and 500-yard freestyle and won the 1650 freestyle by nearly 40 seconds at the Zippy Invitational. Since then, Thomas has become the face of a heated debate regarding whether transgender female athletes should be allowed to participate in women’s athletics. Thomas was eligible to compete in women’s swimming events under a 2010 NCAA rule that granted eligibility for trans women who had completed one year of hormone therapy.

Since then, Thomas has made few public comments while much of the swimming world and even those outside of it have issued opinions on whether she should be allowed to complete as a female. Comments in support of Thomas’ participation have cited the importance of mental health and inclusion, while opponents of her participation have expressed the belief that her presence would create an unfair playing field for cisgender women.

Meanwhile, the NCAA took notice and issued new rules that could put Thomas’ ability to compete at the NCAA Championships in jeopardy, pending the publication of new participation guidelines from USA Swimming and FINA. Thomas will likely be required to submit to a testosterone level test four weeks prior to the championships, but she may be exempted from that rule because of the lateness of the change.

While new guidelines from USA Swimming and FINA on transgender participation remain pending, here is a recap of the major news regarding Thomas and transgender participation in NCAA swimming:

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Mike Arata
3 months ago

Male becomes female? Saying so doesn’t make it so.

The “Lia” (Will) Thomas spectacle has one benefit: it brings to national attention the insanity of permitting biological males to compete in biological female athletic events.

It’s done so more prominently than in some other such cases because Thomas’s presumably un-tapered 200 free time in December (1:41.93) was already faster than last year’s winning NCAA Division One women’s championship time; and Thomas’s 500 free December time (4:34:06) — like the 200 free, with no serious competition — would only have missed last year’s first-place 500 performance by 0.45 second.

Further, both of those December performances show potential capacity for setting new NCAA women’s records (over Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky times, respectively), by someone who is not in fact a woman — i.e., by someone not sporting XX chromosomes.

Failure of Thomas to challenge those records would likely mean that Thomas was either ill or had bagged his races for PR reasons, as seems to have occurred in at least one dual meet this month.

Meanwhile, significant displacements of legitimate female competitors have already occurred — in Connecticut high school sports, for example. There, two biological males began competing in girls’ track in 2017. Within that season and the two following, the biological males were awarded 15 state-champion titles, taken in 2016 by nine different girls.

It’s time for all the regulatory bodies in sport to reject the ideology and harmful politics of transgenderism, especially insofar as they interfere with girls’ and women’s interests, dedication, and rewards in sport.

FINA and the IOC seem finally to have caught up somewhat to doping cases in athletics. Now, as Swimming World Editor in Chief John Lohn has noted, Thomas’s core physiology gives him advantages over females which the latter will never have — and the effect is at least as pronounced as that which benefited drug-enhanced East German female athletes in the 70s.

USA Swimming and the NCAA need now to catch up to reality themselves.

In 1973, as a young coach seeking to learn from the masters, I visited the legendary George Haines and his world-renowned Santa Clara Swim Club program. As it turned out, the East Germans themselves had arrived for joint practices. The doping charges then were only rumors, but the East German girls had noticeable superiorities, in musculature alone.

Were I still coaching now, I’d refuse any formal competition of the grossly unfair sort which is introduced by post-pubertal XY males (allegedly testosterone-suppressed or not) “competing” with genuine XX females.

Girls and women struggled for a long time, even in the largely egalitarian sport of swimming, to be accorded the importance and appreciation which attended men’s swimming for some years after Johnny Weismuller’s performances in the 1920s.

To continue allowing Thomas’s involvement in NCAA women’s swimming (along with others like him), on up to and including the 2022 Women’s NCAA championship and the asterisks which would be needed, will do immense damage to the sport, and to the aspirations of the young women who participate in it.

The same kinds of perverse imbalances may be occurring already in high school swimming, as they have in high school girls’ track meets.

Stop the insanity!

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Stephen Tetzlaff
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Arata

Hormone therapy or not male athletes transitioning have structural advantages that make it grossly unfair to compete against non-transitioned females in any athletic endeavor. Testosterone levels do not take into account the skeletal and muscular advantages biological males have over biological females. Perhaps we need a new category for transgender athletes to compete against each other.

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Jane Wilson
1 month ago

Agreed

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Rebecca
1 month ago

Testosterone levels also don’t take into account social economic status, the number one predictor for sports performance. Testosterone levels also don’t take into account that most cis men aren’t taller than 5’10 also that many sports better to be small (gymnastics, figure skating, skiing). If you want fair sport, you don’t understand sports, sport is inherently unfair. If you want to start making new category’s michael phelps has ridicules physical and biological advantages, Dean Karnazes too. On the topic there should also be an NBA for men under 6 foot. If you care about women’s sport you should help it grow, female athletes get paid nothing copaid to male athletes. Its better to be the 200 best male athlete then the top female athlete. That’s not fair, that’s worth fighting for. So if you want to fight for women’s sport, buy ticks to their games, watch them on TV, follow them on Instagram and know their names.

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JazzyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Arata

AGREED

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sunvale
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Arata

Thank you for the eloquent post

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Rebecca
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Arata

Hi Mike. Are you a women? If the answer is no then it’s likely you shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of women in sport. Something by this post you are saying you care about. As a women in sport I am more than happy to compete against other women, something that Lia is. By this post you also sound old and have archaic beliefs about (1) gender and (2) science. There is lots of research out there about why trans women are women and should be allowed in sport. If you care about women you should look into this topic rather then being transphobic. If you actually care about this topic I’m happy to send you links to research papers so you can be informed and help women in sport.

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SETH
3 months ago

Swimming will survive, and flourish, if it embraces diversity and inclusivity. If it doesn’t, it will just be another sport for the entitled, mainstream, and multi-phobic.

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Mike Arata
3 months ago
Reply to  SETH

Suppose that Seth was a Masters Swimming competitor in the 55-59 age group who still swims a 2:02+ in the 200 free.

Suppose further that a Masters swimmer in the 25-29 age group — still in pretty good shape compared with his high school days as a 1:42 competitor in the 200 free, who can still go 1:49 — declares that he’s actually 55. Should he be permitted to enter 55-59 competition on his say-so?

Were a very tall but sexually dysphoric “entitled” NBA star to claim he was actually a woman, and be permitted thereby to play in the WNBA, would that be acceptable in order to embrace “diversity and inclusivity”?

Should any and all performance-enhancement drugs be permitted in athletics?

Are there any limits to such incongruities, such lack of basic standards, in Seth’s world?

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Alfred
3 months ago
Reply to  SETH

“Transphobic” is a curious term. A phobia, defined as a fear, and “Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.[1] If the object or situation cannot be avoided, they experience significant distress.” (wiki)

It seems to me that to be declared “transphobic” all someone has to do is to disagree with the trans beliefs, aims and agenda. A transwoman disagrees that they are male–does it follow that they are “male-phobic” if they turn their backs on their chromosonal makeup and disagree that they are male? Same goes for transgender male–are they “female-phobic” because being treated by others as a female causes them distress?
Is it reasonable for trans people to steamroll their chosen gender on others to feel comfortable with themselves?

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Mom
3 months ago
Reply to  SETH

I don’t see how intentionally displacing female swimmers with white males increases diversity in the sport of swimming.

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SoTx Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Mom

i see how you threw “white” in there when skin color has nothing at all to do with it.. Nice race-baiting. That’s what racists do. Lia just shows that men are better than women even at being women.

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Del
1 month ago
Reply to  SETH

He is NOT a woman.

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OceanSpirit
3 months ago

Lia can decide in his mind that he wants to be a woman but he will never be one because he’s a MAN. Let’s be real here. When he competed on the men’s team he was ranked somewhere like 462. He transitions to be “called” a woman, joins the women’s team and is now ranked number 1. LIA THOMAS IS A CHEATER. End of story. All of his wins have a big fat asterisk next to them. They are not legitimate. If he were still racing against men, we wouldn’t even know his name.

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Linda
1 month ago

D N A doesn’t lie! If it was born male its a male! An vice versa! Cut off any body parts you want to and sew back on the parts you want, your D N A will always tell the truth! These people need to start their own separate sports divisions for the trans etc. people!

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Rebecca
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda

Hi Linda, are you a DNA scientist? How much do you know about chromosomal disorder, diseases or abnormalities? How about the term Intersex? I’m going to guess no because you would then know science isn’t so clear and the “truth” you are talking about is cut and dry

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SoTx Joe
1 month ago

i don’t have as much problem with this as i thought i would. This is the culmination of feminists using a court order forcing male organizations to admit females fifty years ago. It’s a shame he has to pretend to be female to participate though.

Gender Equality Quiz (Custom).jpg
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Socrates
1 month ago
Reply to  SoTx Joe

 i see how you threw “feminists” in there when feminism has nothing at all to do with the topic. Nice feminist- baiting. That’s what sexists do. Funny how you hijack a posting about trans sports participation, accuse someone of racism when they were just referring to the fact that, from their perspective, a trans female does not increase diversity that much in a sport that is well known for under-representing minorities, then pivot toward anti-feminist comments.

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Heidi
1 month ago

I think this is wrong Her strength and abilities physically, being born as a male, are in most cases increased naturally due to body make up which now gives her an unfair advantage over her other competitors

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Damien
1 month ago
Reply to  Heidi

When I see someone referring to her as him…just shows their true colors. It’s unfair for her to be competing with cisfemales…as someone who has struggled with this…(I am gendernetural) I understand. If she had started her transition a decade ago or even before she started puberty my opinion would be different. But to be a subpar swimmer on men’s teams then begin her transition in 2019 well after puberty is an unfair advantage. Only way I see to make things fair is to allow cis females performance enhancers (if they choose so) to level the playing field. Females transitioning to Male don’t stand a chance competing against cis males…rules need to be put in place.

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Dave B
1 month ago
Reply to  Damien

Lia Thomas was not a subpar swimmer when she competed as a male. She was 2nd in the Ivy League men’s championships in three races as a freshman.

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Mark Sprinkle
1 month ago

this is as unacceptable as are hormones or steroids . since the beginning of drug testing for sports. there is no difference.

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Average Joe
1 month ago

Seth is part of the problem.

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Jeremiah Donahue
1 month ago

The men’s ncaa winning time was 4.06.

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L.E. Wilson
1 month ago

I am a man. can I say I am a woman and go into the lady’s room? Not without being arrested. Why are men allowed to complete in women sports? She/men are not women. period. Make a separate category for them. End the despising difference.

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JazzyB
1 month ago

A male trying to be a woman should NOT be allowed to compete in any women’s sports! Guess “he/she” couldn’t win as a man so decided to become a woman so “she” could win! NOT A FAIR COMPETITION! STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING! You don’t see a transwoman competing against men! Not a fair competition for the women that have been working hard to win in their own events!

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Rebecca
1 month ago
Reply to  JazzyB

What do you think the advantages of being a women is? Because I really cant think of a lot, and even less in sport. You will be paid more money and respect being the 200th man then the first women. So what the point of become a women to win? In the list of top 100 paid athletes in the word there were 2 women. Why face all the back lash and abuse for nothing?

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Jane Wilson
1 month ago

HE is still male body wise.He may be exterior female but is definitely male. He nor any trans person should not be able to compete in college nor Olympic nor pro sports. This takes women’s rights back 100+ years. This was his choice not Gods nor the other women who have worked so hard for equal rights and have trained for competitive sports. I have nothing against his gender choice but HE has no right to unjustly compete against other WOMEN.

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Farkel
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane Wilson

Though not stated here, I read days ago that he is pre-op; he’s full-on physically male, no parts removed or added; he’s just taking drugs.

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Robt. Emmett
1 month ago

He should compete as a woman, as he doesn’t the necessary equipment to compete as a man. I lay the blame for this situation on women swimmers. If the other swimmers left the natatorium when IT arrives the controversary would be over.

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Robin
1 month ago

Even Caitlyn Jenner, ‘herself’ said transgen women should not compete in women’s sports. Maybe create another league for transgen people, like they do with special Olympics. I side with Caitlyn on this one.

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Joshua Glade
1 month ago

These men are highly confused. They have a self identity crisis going on in their heads. I would have to say the same for the swimming officials. Screw your feelings! I’m 45 yrs old but since I feel 65 yrs old then I should be granted my social Security benefits now. The administration should agree. The person whom you were born Shall be the person you will compete. If officials allow this then they taint the sport with this defiant in nature matter. What the hell has this world !!