A dozen UPenn law groups are coming to the defense of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, claiming his success is due to “hard work,” not because he's a man competing against women.
Thomas, who is still a biological male and has undertaken only the bare minimum to “transition” to a woman, joined the UPenn women’s swimming team as a woman this season after spending nearly three years competing unremarkably as a man. However, since joining the UPenn women’s swimming team, Thomas has been obliterating one women’s swimming record after another.
The column, published last week by the student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian, insists that Thomas has not enjoyed success this year “because she is transgender.”
Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, dives into the water to swim in the 200 yard Medley Relay for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
“Thomas, who has been swimming since she was five years old, had an incredible season following a year-long break; she won events, broke records, and earned bids to the NCAA championships,” the column exclaims. “Thomas did not succeed because she is transgender; she succeeded because of the hard work she has put in throughout her long swimming career, and because she is finally able to authentically be herself and race in a sport that she loves.”
The signatories of the column added that they support all trans athletes, including Thomas, writing, “Lia Thomas belongs on the Penn women’s swim team, Lia Thomas belongs in sports, and all trans athletes belong in sports.”
The article adds that the “attacks on trans rights” is “really about the broader conversation about the humanity of trans folks and whether or not they deserve to participate in all aspects of life in society, and that includes college sports.”
The article concludes by proclaiming that “all trans athletes belong in sports” without any restrictions at all — including testosterone suppression for trans “women.”
Testosterone suppression is unfair, these leftist students exclaim, adding, “the choice to take performance-enhancing drugs is (rightfully) regarded as dishonorable, deceptive, and advantage-seeking. Despite the misunderstandings of those who accuse trans women of cheating and playing unfairly, being trans in sports is not a choice like the decision to take a performance-enhancing drug — athletes have as much say in their height as their gender identity.
Lia Thomas, a transgender woman (C), gathers with her teammates before she swims for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League swim meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
“Focusing on supposed biological advantages that trans women possess but ignoring all other often-valued advantages athletes may possess both implies that being trans is a choice and demonstrates that the goal is not competitive fairness — rather, it is exclusion. ,” they wrote.
Indeed, “biology” (they wrote it in quotes as if biology is not real) should not be a reason to categorize athletes.
“Additionally, by focusing on ‘biology,’ these attempts to exclude, disparage, and discriminate minimize the tremendous amount of work that athletes like Beggs and Thomas have put in to play their sports,” they concluded.
The column was endorsed by Penn Law for Philly, Law Students for a Democratic Society, Penn Law Lambda, Trans Empowerment @ Advocacy Project, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, American Constitution Society, International Human Rights Advocates, Penn Law National Lawyers Guild, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Civil Rights Law Project, Penn Law Boxing Club, Toll Scholar Classes 2022, 2023 and 2024, Latinx Law Students Association, Disabled & Allied Students Association and Penn Law Women’s Association.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston