A 22-year-old transgender swimmer by the name of Lia Thomas has been smashing women’s records at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Lia, formerly Will, competed as a male at the university for three years before transitioning. One of Lia’s most recent meets at UPenn would have placed them second and third respectively at the national NCAA women’s meet. It is not clear how well Lia performed when they competed against men as Will.
Lia is co-chair of the “non-cis” club at UPenn. “Cis” essentially refers to a person identifying as the gender they were born as. This means that “non-cis” people include transgender, non-binary, and anything else other than normal male/female. Lia spoke to UPenn today and gave them the following quote:
“(Swimming) is a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was 5 years old,” Thomas said. “The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid. Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?
Transgender athletes competing against the gender they now identify as has become a pattern in the United States and other parts of the western world. Many feminist organizations rebuke this trend, citing unfairness. Men and women often work together in corporate environments where the work is mostly mental and not physical. And if the work is physical, there is no competition between workers that drives wages or employment.
Sports are an entirely different animal. Men and women are biologically different with men being the stronger of the two. Therefore, feats of physical prowess will always favor men more than women. This is why sports are gendered. Removing gendered sports to account for people who identify as another gender is simply unfair. Even if a biological XY male identifies as female, that person should still compete against other XY males. It is not only fair but basic biology.