Transgender Woman’s Wins ‘Should Not Come at Our Expense’: UPenn Women Swimmers

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By NTD Newsroom
February 4, 2022Sports News
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Transgender Woman’s Wins ‘Should Not Come at Our Expense’: UPenn Women Swimmers
Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host artistic swimming, diving, and swimming events at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games, is seen as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, after the grand opening ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 24, 2020. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

A transgender woman should not be allowed to compete with biological women because the person would hold “an unfair advantage over the competition in the women’s category,” a group said Thursday.

The group, which includes 16 members of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team and their family members, issued a letter to the university and the Ivy League, asking them to refrain from any litigation that’s seeking to allow teammate Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, to race at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) events.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a three-time Olympic champion and the CEO of Champion Women, led the efforts.

The NCAA Board of Governors in January adopted a sport-by-sport approach to transgender participation, but emphasized the need to balance fairness, inclusion, and safety for all college athletes.

The University of Pennsylvania may sue the NCAA if Thomas is barred from competing at the upcoming NCAA competitions, The Daily Mail reported. The Epoch Times cannot independently verify the potential lawsuit.

The group who penned the letter urged the University of Pennsylvania to not engage in any lawsuit seeking to allow Thomas to compete in women’s sports.

“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” read the letter.

“If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.

“To be sidelined or beaten by someone competing with the strength, height, and lung capacity advantages that can only come with male puberty has been exceedingly difficult,” they wrote.

The Epoch Times reached out to the University of Pennsylvania and the Champion Women for comments.

Read the full letter obtained by The Swimming World:

To: The University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League
From: Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D., CEO of Champion Women, on behalf of 16 Members of the Penn Women’s Swimming Team and Their Families
Date: February 3, 2022
Re: We Request that Penn and the Ivy League Do Not Engage in Litigation to Alter the NCAA’s New Eligibility Guidelines for Transgender Athletes

We, 16 members of the Penn Women’s Swimming Team and our family members, thank USA Swimming, for listening to our request to prioritize fairness for biological women in our elite competitions. We ask that Penn and the Ivy League support us as biological women, and not engage in legal action with the NCAA to challenge these new Athlete Inclusion Policies.

Tuesday, USA Swimming released new “Athlete Inclusion Procedures” shortly after the NCAA acknowledged that each sport should determine how fairness and inclusion were to be accomplished. In particular, we appreciate USAS Guideline’s guiding purpose, to ensure that transgender women competing in the Female competition category “do not have an unfair advantage over their cisgender Female competitors in Elite Events.” (USAS, page 42, #6 (a))

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, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity. Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female. If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.

The Penn Women’s Swimming Team has over 40 women, but only 18 of us are chosen to compete in the end-of-year culmination of our work: the Ivy Championships. Most important to us is that Lia’s inclusion with unfair biological advantages means that we have lost competitive opportunities. Some of us have lost records. But even those that swim different events than Lia or were not in contention to make the Ivy Championships, we stand by our teammates who have lost out. It has often felt like Penn, our school, our league, and the NCAA did not support us.

We have dedicated our lives to swimming. Most of us started the same time Lia did, as pre-teens. We have trained up to 20 hours a week, swimming miles, running and lifting weights. To be sidelined or beaten by someone competing with the strength, height, and lung capacity advantages that can only come with male puberty has been exceedingly difficult.

We have been told that if we spoke out against her inclusion into women’s competitions, that we would be removed from the team or that we would never get a job offer. When media have tried to reach out to us, these journalists have been told that the coaches and athletes were prohibited from talking to them. We support Lia’s mental health, and we ask Penn and the Ivy League to support ours as well.

We hope that sport will adapt; that swimming will find a place for Lia to compete. Lia is always welcome to train with us; the men’s and women’s swimming teams have always trained together with the same head coach.

However, sport is competitive by definition, and Lia’s wins, records, and honors should not come at our expense, the women who have worked their entire lives to earn a spot on the Penn Women’s Swimming Team.

We just celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day. In honor of the Title IX pioneers who have worked so hard for women to have opportunities in sports and for educational opportunities for all women, we ask the University of Pennsylvania recognize the importance of providing fair competition and safe spaces for its biological female athletes. Further, we ask that Penn and the Ivy League refrain from suing the NCAA, or try to interfere with or weaken these new Athlete Inclusion Policies, that they be allowed to stand, so that we are able to finish our swimming season with distinction and pride.

From The Epoch Times

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