16 student athletes at the University of Pennsylvania showed their support for the new updated policies regarding transgender swimmers. The new policies were issued by USA Swimming after a long controversy regarding Lia Thomas’ participation in the women’s Ivy League.
The female transgender from The University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas, won two races and caused a controversy. The National Governing Body for competitive swimming finally stepped in and issued a policy update.
The new policy stated that ‘the testosterone level should be less than 5 nanomoles per liter continuously for at least 36 months and the transgender athletes are required to provide the evidence.
With this new policy, Lia Thomas definitely couldn’t continue in the competition as she was previously a male. The 22-year-old has to decrease her testosterone level first.
16 of Lia Thomas’ teammates issued a letter applauding the new policy. The letter was written on behalf of the swimmers by The CEO of Champion Women Nancy Hogshead-Makar. They said that they support and respect Lia Thomas’ decision regarding identity change. However, when it comes to sports, it’s another thing.
“We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically. However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity. Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over the competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female.” the letter reads.
Though, some of her teammates are against preventing Lia Thomas from participating.
“We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition. We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds.” said members of the team back then.
Some people believe the sudden policy change is clearly targeted for Lia Thomas. But USA Swimming has stated that the purpose of this move is to pursue fairness in sports.