Headline RoundupMarch 22nd, 2022

Will Trans Athletes Help Advance Women's Sports or Create Unfair Competition?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The success of University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, continues to drive debate about trans athletes in women's sports.

Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win a national collegiate championship last week when she placed first in the 500-yard freestyle event. Her time was nine seconds behind the event's all-time record. Thomas and her success since joining the UPenn women's swim team this year have divided voices across the spectrum. Some say Thomas's success is inspirational for the LGBTQ+ community; others say she puts competitors at an unfair disadvantage. The women's swim world is also divided, with some of Thomas's teammates supporting her participation and others opposing it. In a 2021 Gallup (Center bias) poll, 62% of U.S. adults said trans athletes should play on teams that match their birth gender.

Many on the right argue that male puberty, physics and biology give trans female athletes an undeniable advantage over cisgender athletes, and frame Thomas's height and other physical features as evidence. These voices often argue that allowing trans women into women's sporting events runs counter to traditional feminism. Conversely, some left-rated voices argue that Thomas will help advance the relevancy and prestige of women's sports. Some also cite a lack of evidence for a connection between testosterone levels and athletic performance. One analysis from Christian Science Monitor expressed optimism that current good-faith debates about trans athletes' rights will lead sporting bodies to develop rules and frameworks that satisfy both sides. 

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