Parents of University of Pennsylvania swimmers competing with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who broke records in the women’s categories, are asking in a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that she not be allowed to participate in future girls’ events.
The letter from the parents of 10 swimmers, sent Dec. 5, further urges changing the rules on transgender athletes, which have allowed Thomas, 22, to break numerous records, resulting in a threat to female athletes in all sports, The Daily Mail noted.
“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports,” the letter said. “The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport,” they wrote in the letter.
“What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?” the parents asked.
The parents further stated in the letter that it was the NCAA’s responsibility to address the issue, not Thomas’. “It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics, and the Ivy League. And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”
The University of Pennsylvania responded to the letter, emphasizing its desire for inclusion, and invited the university community to embrace “Lia’s success.”
“Please know that we fully support all our swimming student-athletes and want to help our community navigate Lia’s success in the pool this winter,” the university said.
It added, “Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future.”
The transgender swimmer taking records away from female swimmers competed on the Penn men’s swim team as Will Thomas for three years before coming out as transgender in 2019.
Some of his fellow competitors expressed discontent. One related that Thomas had bragged about winning easily, saying, “That was so easy, I was cruising, before adding. At least I’m still No.1 in the country.”
One parent told the Daily Mail that many of the younger swimmers so far have not spoken out because they fear being “ostracized.”
“Everybody is scared,” said the mother, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her and her daughter.
Several states have proposed bills to ban transgender athletes from competing on teams opposite their biological sex.
One of them is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who in June of this year signed a bill banning transgender women from playing on public school girls’ teams, something he stressed was necessary to ensure equity for women participating in sports across the state.
“We are going to go based off biology, not based off ideology when we are doing sports,” the Republican governor said.