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Transgender Swimmer’s Olympic Dreams Dashed by Recent Ruling

Daniel Kim Views  

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Lia Thomas, a 25-year-old transgender swimmer from the United States who has not undergone surgery to remove her male reproductive organs, will no longer be able to compete in international women’s competitions.

According to The Guardian and other sources, on June 13, Thomas recently lost a lawsuit she had filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to compete in international women’s competitions.

The world swim body argued to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that Thomas lacks the standing to challenge the policy established by the World Aquatics because Thomas is not a member of its member federation, USA Swimming. Therefore, she is ineligible to compete in events organized by World Aquatics.

Thomas is not allowed to compete in elite women’s races as judges ruled that she did not have standing to bring the case. She can also not participate in elite women’s events organized by the USA Swimming. Participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics is also impossible.

The new World Aquatics eligibility policy states that male-to-female transgender athletes are eligible to compete only if “they can establish to FINA’s comfortable satisfaction that they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 (of puberty) or before age 12, whichever is later.”

Thomas, who was born male, is known to have started questioning her gender identity as she approached high school graduation. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania in 2019, she began hormone therapy and underwent a gender transition process to become a woman. She has not had surgery to remove her male reproductive organs and has only undergone hormone replacement therapy.

In March 2022, Thomas competed in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event at the National College Swimming Championships and won, defeating an Olympic silver medalist. This victory made her the first transgender person to win a national competition in American history.

Previously, she ranked 400th to 500th in the U.S. by age as a male player. Her performance significantly improved after transitioning to the women’s category.

Since then, there has been a debate in the United States about whether it is fair for transgender athletes who were originally male to compete with female athletes. Paula Scanlan, a member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives last year, stating, “My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a six-foot-four tall, biological male, fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week. Some girls opted to change into bathroom stalls, and others used the family bathroom to avoid this.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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