Recently, a member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team shared that some team members are uncomfortable changing in the locker room in the presence of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.
Thomas, 22, spent the previous three years competing in the men’s team before transitioning.
The transition has created a troublesome environment in the locker room because – Thomas still retains her biologically male genitalia.
Thomas also happens to be attracted to women, according to a teammate who confirmed in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” said the swimmer. Thomas has reportedly told her teammates that she dates women.
The swimmer shared in the interview that she and other team members have spoken to the team’s coaches about getting Thomas to change elsewhere from the rest of the team, but no solution has been implemented yet.
“Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” she said. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”
She then added, “It’s really upsetting because Lia doesn’t seem to care how it makes anyone else feel. The 35 of us are just supposed to accept being uncomfortable in our own space and locker room for, like, the feelings of one.”
“The school was so focused on making sure Lia was okay and doing everything they possibly could do for her, that they didn’t even think about the rest of us,” the teammate shared to the Daily Mail.
According to the swimmer’s opinion, she believes that Thomas ‘enjoys’ all the attention and controversy that this issue is generating.
“It’s affected all of us way more than it’s affected her,” Thomas’ teammate said.
The swimmer then said that the majority of them are uneased and didn’t want to speak out as they were scared to be labeled as “transphobic.”
“If this gets a little bit bigger, I might go on the record, but I’m definitely a little afraid,” she said. “What I’m afraid of is that potential employers will Google my name and see commentary about things I said and think, ‘Oh, this person’s transphobic.’”
Thomas has made a name for herself after breaking school and national records this year, prompting the NCAA to review its guidelines for transgender athletes.
Thomas has made headlines after breaking school and national records this year, but the NCAA is yet to review its guidelines for transgender athletes.