Penn Athletics - Lia Thomas
Opinion - Lia Thomas, the transgender female athlete at UPenn has been breaking records as of late in swimming competitions. The only problem? Thomas just recently began transitioning from male to female two years ago.
This is a problem because for the first three years that Thomas was competing at UPenn, Thomas swam for the men’s team. Thomas has already gone through male puberty which means that he has more muscle mass, bone mass, and is stronger than all the females on the UPenn swim team because of his biological differences.
Another important biological fact to take note of is that males typically have a greater lung capacity than females, which is important to consider in a sport that requires you to be under water most of the time. In a manuscript published under the National Institute of Health, it states, “Maturation of the airways and lungs continues through childhood and into adolescence during which time, for the most part, males continue to have larger lungs than females.”
According to an article published by Axios, Thomas “won the 200-yard free by seven seconds, the 500 free by 14 seconds and the 1,650 free by 38 seconds, setting two Ivy League records and posting the fastest time of the year among college women in the 200 and 500.” In the sport of swimming, these time gaps from Thomas to the second-place swimmer is huge. A 38 second time gap is almost unheard of in female competitive swimming.
Another transgender female, Fallon Fox, is an MMA fighter and wrestler who is known for having broken their opponent’s skull. Fox’s opponent, Tamikka Brents, suffered from a concussion and fractures in her skull and orbital bone. She had to have seven staples placed in her skull and head.
According to an interview conducted by Whoatv, Brents said, “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.”
It is becoming a consistent pattern with transgender females in women’s sports that the trans athletes are outpacing and beating their fellow female competitors and teammates.
Women have fought long and hard to be able to compete in sports. The process of allowing women to compete in sports was a very slow development, but was finally allowed under the introduction of Title IX in 1972.
With more transgender athletes competing in female sports, we are starting to see these opportunities for females slowly diminish as biological males are taking the wins. What will the future of women’s sports look like if organizations like the NCAA and UFC continue to allow transgender females to compete against biological females? Will there be a future for women’s sports anymore?