Headline RoundupFebruary 3rd, 2022

Should Transgender Penn Swimmer Lia Thomas Be Allowed to Compete in Women's Events?

Summary from AllSides News Team

A transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania is breaking records and spurring debate about trans athletes across the political spectrum.

After competing for the UPenn men’s swimming team for three seasons and undergoing over two years of hormone replacement therapy as part of her transition from male to female, swimmer Lia Thomas joined the school's women's team this year. She has posted the top times of any female college swimmer in two different events this season, and broke the UPenn women's program record for fastest 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle times. Some of Thomas's teammates and competitors have voiced support for her right to compete as a woman; other voices in the sport, including 16 anonymous Penn women's swimmers, have supported her right to identify as trans while arguing that "biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category." Thomas has said that being trans "has not affected my ability to do this sport." 

Many right-rated voices cite Thomas and her success in women's collegiate swimming as the latest in a series of examples of transgender athletes creating an uneven playing field for cisgender competitors, and framed Thomas's career in men's swimming as unsuccessful. Opinions from left-rated voices typically placed less emphasis on Thomas breaking records, tended to frame her male career as more fruitful, and highlighted the debate about trans athletes in the context of the LGBTQ+ community's growing push for acceptance and equity.

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