'Lia' Thomas Has the Right to Compete — against Men

"Lia" Thomas, the male UPenn swimmer who recently won the women's 500-yard freestyle NCAA championship, "just wants to swim."  Thomas doesn't want attention, controversy, or fanfare — just to enter a pool and be free in the water.

According to a social justice puff piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer titled "Swimming in the Spotlight":

When Lia Thomas glides through the water, she's [sic] weightless, free from the outside noise.

When the buzzer sounds and she [sic] dives into the pool, there's no time to think about the people debating her [sic] right to compete as a transgender woman [sic], or pressure to be a role model to other trans athletes.

For those few minutes, she's [sic] just a swimmer.

Interestingly, Thomas was able to "just swim" for years, when the man who now identifies as a "transgender woman" swam with other male athletes.  There was no controversy, debate, or pressure to be a role model then — there was just the pool and honest athletic competition.  To "just swim" under these circumstances, though, was interrupted by Thomas experiencing gender dysphoria. 

So Thomas began "transitioning" to a woman.  And when he went back into the pool, instead of "just swimming" in the division established for men, the tall, broad-shouldered Thomas decided to compete against women.  Why would Thomas choose to do this?  No one challenged his gender — the swimmer was free to identify as a woman, to use the pronouns "she, her, and hers," to undergo hormone therapy and live as a female.  Because progressive culture teaches that gender is fluid and psychological — an arbitrary social construct — Thomas was more or less given the freedom and respect on Penn's Ivy League campus to live life the way he saw fit.

Competitive NCAA swimming is not the manifestation of a psychological condition.  It is a physical sport based on speed, strength, and endurance — on a human's physiological ability to maneuver through water in a pool.  Times and distances in NCAA swimming competitions are not "fluid" or an arbitrary social construct.  So no matter how much Thomas feels like or identifies as a woman, the U-Penn swimmer is still a man.  No matter the dosage of hormones, Thomas will still be tall and broad-shouldered and still have a large masculine wingspan and powerful cardiovascular system. 

No matter the length of his hair or the amount of make-up on his face, Thomas will still have higher levels of testosterone than his female competitors, and he will still have an XY chromosome.  Put another way, Thomas will always be a male.  Period.

Thomas's college swimming career is over.  The fifth-year senior ended the NCAAs by reaching the podium in every event he competed in.  If he wants to pursue a career in swimming, let him do so in the future by competing against men.

As someone who identifies as a woman, wouldn't Thomas feel a kinship with female swimmers?  Wouldn't Thomas want to protect their sports and spaces by not unfairly dominating their competitions and shattering their records?  Or perhaps be a trailblazer by proving that "transgender women" can realistically compete with men?     

In the end, it's not about trans rights, "authentic feelings," or any attempt to make sports fair for anyone.  It's about power.  Progressives and those who have the most to gain from identity politics know this issue is invaluable and an extremely powerful tool to wield power, set an agenda, and control language and thought — so much so that society has been duped into accepting (and in some cases actually believing) that gender — which is psychological and an arbitrary social construct — is biologically and physiologically real.  And, conversely, biological sex — which is genetic and a physiological reality — is simply an arbitrary social construct.

Why?  Power.  The progressives always get to decide.  That's the rule.  They decide what is real and what is arbitrary, what is physical, and what is a social construct.  And this can change at any given time, depending on the political circumstances (think of race and intersectionality).  The sanctity of women's sports and spaces does not matter to them.  Nor does women's safety or self-esteem.  

And if you disagree with them?  Be forewarned: they'll bully and intimidate you into silence, and even try to destroy your life.  (Think Martina Navratilova and J. K. Rowling.)

Throughout the Inquirer's puff piece on Thomas, it's mentioned that family members and teammates who disagreed with the athlete "spoke with The Inquirer under the condition of anonymity because their daughters feared social reprisal."

"All these statements have been issued anonymously — women who disagree with Thomas' participation are afraid of being labeled transphobic," the article reads.

Doesn't the Inquirer feel compelled to ask why so much harassment and vitriol are being aimed at women and girls who are simply questioning the fairness of a man competing with women?

Apparently not.

If Thomas "just wants to swim" then, by all means, let the UPenn swimmer swim — with other men, where competition can be fair to all people.  No one is stopping him from doing so.

Image: Eric Sonstroem via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped).

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