Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, criticized her opponents who claim to be feminists, but actually hold misogynistic and transphobic views. These opponents devalue women based solely on their ability to reproduce.
The gold medalist from NCAA informed another transgender swimmer, Schuyler Bailar, that her teammates at the University of Pennsylvania held false feminist perspectives. This was revealed after they wrote a letter to the NCAA requesting that Thomas be banned from competing in 2022.
“They’re like, ‘Oh, we respect Lia, as a woman, as a trans woman or whatever, we respect her identity, we just don’t think it’s fair.’ You can’t really have that sort of half-support where you’re like, ‘Oh, I respect her as a woman here, but not here,’” Thomas stated in the podcast “Dear Schuyler.”
“They’re using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs. I think a lot of people in that camp sort of carry an implicit bias against trans people, but don’t want to, I guess, fully manifest or speak that out. And so they try to just play it off as this sort of half-support.”
During the interview, which was aired only four days after the House Republicans’ decision to bar transgender female athletes from participating in female sports, Thomas stated that some feminists were obstructing the advancement of women’s rights by opposing the participation of transgender women.
During her last season, Thomas started competing as a female. She believes that TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) are trying to restrict the definition of a woman to biology only, which effectively means controlling other people’s bodies.
Bailar, who is the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer, supported Thomas’ argument and stated that TERFs contradict the fundamental principles of feminism.
“They think about how twisted “feminism” has become their arguments. In order to exclude anybody in the trans category, you have to reduce women to reproductive capacity, which is, in my opinion, extremely anti-feminist,” Bailar stated.
In recent months, athletic organizations around the world have been enacting rules that exclude transgender individuals, citing the need to ensure fairness for female athletes.
World Athletics announced in March that transgender women who have undergone male puberty will not be eligible to participate in female world ranking competitions.
The international council has set limits on the testosterone levels of transgender female athletes who are eligible to participate in competitions.