Transgender athlete Leah Thomas defended her victories over her biological opponents when attacking what she saw as pseudo-feminists who wanted to “police women’s bodies”.
The former University of Pennsylvania player joined NCAA senior transgender swimmer Schuyler Pillar on his “Dear Schuyler” podcast Monday to discuss the controversy over allowing transgender female athletes to compete on women’s sports teams.
She said she believed that rather than being excluded from the sport, trans women should be “celebrated” for their achievements as she called her former teammates “fake feminists” for speaking out against her being on the women’s team.
The NCAA champion looked elated and showed no remorse for defeating a female biological athlete, despite the constant criticism from her former rival, Riley Gaines.
Her remarks came as she had become an activist for transgender athletes, even making her own video in support of a measure that would override any bans on transgender competitors.
Leah Thomas, left, said she’s proud of her accomplishments as a transgender swimmer on Schuyler’s Pilar Dear Schuyler podcast Monday.
Thomas was pictured with her former rival, Riley Gaines, at last year’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
On the podcast, Thomas told Pilar she was “proud of my accomplishments,” and claimed that as a transgender athlete, “we’re almost not allowed to celebrate our accomplishments.”
“I felt like I didn’t want to invite more negativity, but I think trans women should be celebrated,” she said of her decision not to speak about her victory in the past.
Thomas then went on to say that critics of transgender athletes in sports are ‘watching women’s bodies’, and compares the pressure to exclude transgender female athletes from sports to historical efforts to exclude black women from competing in women’s sports.
“They use the guise of feminism to push transphobic beliefs,” she said.
I think a lot of people in this camp hold an implicit prejudice against trans people, but they don’t want, I think, to fully show it or talk about it. And so they try to play him as this kind of half-support.
“You can’t do that. You can’t kind of break me as a person to bits.”
Pilar agreed with the controversial player, saying, “They come from… this whole ‘protecting women’s sport’ (which) has become a very big movement and they’re doing it under the guise of feminism.” Oh, we’re just feminists, we’re just fighting for Women,” and whenever anyone says I’m always (like): “Well, you’re fighting for women by excluding women, so this isn’t fighting for women. “
He went on to say that feminism had become “twisted” and “turned into the exclusion of women” and reduced them to “reproductive capacity”.
At the end of the day, everyone’s trying — under true feminism — everyone’s trying to come together to kind of break down these patriarchal ideals of what a woman is and who a woman can be and kind of open that up to the very wide range of possibilities that exist,” Thomas said.
Thomas, who has received numerous criticisms throughout the swimsuit season, has called her former colleagues and critics bogus feminists who push transphobic values under the guise of being ‘women’. Pictured: He speaks to fellow transgender athlete, Schuyler Pilar, on an episode of his podcast Dear Schuyler released Monday
Pillar, who swam on Harvard’s men’s team in the 2018-2019 season, has gone so far as to dismiss the notion that transgender athletes have an inherent advantage over biological females.
In his closing argument, Pillar argued that there are inherent differences between athletes—using Michael Phelps and Caster Semini as examples.
“I know most people will go straight to the ‘biological advantage’ argument,” he began, saying that some alleged biological advantages make it unfair for a trans woman to compete with other women.
But let’s consider a few points: Biodiversity is everywhere in sports, in every demographic of people and every demographic of women. This is the kind of sport. “I mean, if everyone were exactly the same, there would be no competition.”
“Sport is based on the fact that bodies are different and their performance is different,” Pilar continued.
When these differences exist in the category of men, most people don’t care. In fact, they praise these differences.
Let’s take a look at Michael Phelps – Olympic winner of all time. You probably know who he is. He is tall. He’s got this really long torso and he’s got a really wide wingspan – all advantages specifically in swimming. It also produces half the levels of lactic acid compared to the average athlete. Not the average person, the average athlete. All of these things give it an enormous biological advantage.
But his biological differences are being celebrated. When they looked at it, they said, “Wow, what an amazing biological anomaly.”
Does it have biological advantages? definitely. But do people say this is grounds for disqualification? “Oh, Michael Phelps is too tall,” “His wingspan is too long,” or “His lactic acid is too low, so he needs to be ruled out.” No, people don’t. They left his body as it is.
On the flip side, let’s take a look at the Ladies category. Maybe Caster Semenya — as a black, queer, cisgender woman) and she’s also bisexual, Pillar said.
She is an Olympic champion. But when she won, people accused her of being too masculine and demanded that her body be examined.
In his concluding remarks, Schuyler-Pillar denied that transgender female athletes had an advantage over female biologists. Filmed behind the scenes with Thomas
When they found out she was bisexual, they made rules that made her have to change her testosterone in order to compete. The latest rules require that she undergo a six-month period of hormone suppression before she is allowed to compete at the international level.
Michael Phelps is allowed to keep his body as it is and in fact is celebrated for all of his biological merits. But Caster Semenya and other women like her are excluded.
This extends to transgender women as well. When a trans woman is different, it is immediately called unfair. But the truth is, there are a lot of women out there who might be “too tall,” “too strong,” or “too fast,” so this debate is really not about fairness.
“Trying to exclude transgender women means you really have to find out which of them are transgender and that endeavor requires you to observe the entire category of women, which means that you observe all women.” Legal forces to police women’s bodies in sport would destroy the category of women. Does not include transgender women.
Thomas, pictured after winning the 500-meter freestyle during a Harvard meet, took the opportunity to talk about her decision to move
Thomas has become outspoken about allowing transgender athletes to compete in sports
Meanwhile, Thomas, who competed on the men’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania before beginning her transition, has spoken out about her decision to become a transgender woman.
She said she has always loved swimming and started swimming competitively at the age of five. But when she realized she was transgender prior to her freshman year of college, she said, “My relationship with water changed.”
She said she felt uncomfortable about putting her body out “for the world to see”, and felt trapped in a “very dark and unpleasant place” before she decided to take hormones.
“I haven’t seen my life go on any other way.”
Now, she said, she’s speaking out to tell transgender kids “you’re not alone.”
One of Thomas’ biggest critics is former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines
Thomas was called out by her teammates’ parents, who wrote a letter to the NCAA in December, asking her to change the rules that allowed her to compete.
They said that “the integrity of women’s sports is at stake here”.
The precedent being set – a precedent in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – poses a direct threat to female athletes in every sport. What are the limits? How does this align with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?
“It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement,” the parents continued in the letter obtained by DailyMail.com.
As the governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the responsibility on Lea, his teammates, the Lea coaches, UPenn athletics, and the Ivy League. And it is unfair and irresponsible for Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the NCAA’s involvement.
One of Thomas’ biggest critics is former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who recently asked a fellow competitor if it was heartbreaking to see women lose out on opportunities to transgender women.
Leah Thomas was quoted as saying, you know, “It breaks my heart to see trans kids miss out on opportunities.” Replace that with the word woman – does it still break Thomas’ heart to see women miss out on opportunities? Gaines asked about the letter Piers Morgan Uncensored.
Gaines also called Thomas an egoist and said she showed “a complete disregard for women” after the transgender swimmer, who competed as a male for three years, begged President Joe Biden to protect transgender athletes in the sport.
Jaynes tweeted, “This photo is selfish and shows a complete disregard for women.” The Biden administration is working aggressively to pass laws that erase decent and fair treatment of women in sports.
The bill, an amendment to Title IX — the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex — would prevent states from enacting blanket bans on transgender athletes who compete against their non-biological gender in grades K-8.
However, it wouldn’t prevent this kind of ban against older trans athletes in high school and college.