'Everything is messed up': Lia Thomas takes first place at meet. Parents, students struggle to speak out over transgender athletes.
UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas competed in a meet Jan. 8, taking first in two events.
The Ivy League has publicly supported Thomas and other transgender athletes.
University of Pennsylvania’s (UPenn) transgender swimmer Lia Thomas placed first in two events at a Jan. 8 meet hosted by UPenn.
Anastasia Kukla, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a former swimmer, believes that the biggest issue with allowing men in women’s sports is “fairness.”
“Men will always be bigger and stronger than me,” Kukla told Campus Reform. “It’s a huge disadvantage for me as a 5’0’ female to go against a transgender male who’s say 5’10. They have a bigger wingspan which in swimming is a huge benefit.”
Parents of swimmers, according to Kukla, face challenges when they try to speak out about fairness.
“In today’s society, it’s so hard to speak on these issues and come out and talk about them. They are so quick to say we are transphobic, but in reality, it’s okay to question and get clarity," Kukla said.
On Saturday, The Daily Mail reported that at the same event, Yale University's Iszac Henig, who is transitioning from female to male, "shocked" onlookers when she removed the top of her swimsuit. Reportedly, Henig had previously had her breasts removed.
An anonymous UPenn parent told The Daily Mail, “I wasn't prepared for that. Everything is messed up," a parent told The Daily Mail on condition of anonymity.
The parent added:
"I can't wrap my head around this. The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion.”
Henig did beat Thomas in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
One day before the event, The Ivy League posted a statement of support of Lia Thomas and transgender athletes on its Instagram.
“The Ivy League reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form," the post reads.
Campus Reform reached out to UPenn and Yale University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
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