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Tipsheet

UPenn Officials Reportedly Ignore Complaints About Lia Thomas’ Nudity in Women’s Locker Room

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

A letter was sent to Philadelphia city officials and school officials at the University of Pennsylvania regarding biological male swimmer, William “Lia” Thomas, who is competing on the women’s swim team. The letter, obtained by The Washington Examiner, brings up reports made by anonymous female UPenn swimmers who feel “uncomfortable” and “uneasy” sharing the women’s locker room with Thomas. The letter states that there is a “potential violation” of Pennsylvania criminal code and the University of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence and Stalking Policy. The letter has gone unanswered and unacknowledged, the Examiner reported.

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As Matt covered this month, Thomas reportedly “still retains her biologically male genitalia — which are sometimes exposed” in the locker room, “and is attracted to women.”

An unnamed female UPenn swimmer who spoke to Daily Mail last month said “it’s [the locker room] definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women.” The swimmer also said the issue was brought up to the coaches by “multiple swimmers” at “multiple different times.”

“We were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room,” the swimmer told Daily Mail.

The letter, which was written by the USA director of Keep Prisons Single Sex and Women’s Declaration International, USA, was sent to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Philadelphia police commissioner, the Philadelphia sheriff, University of Pennsylvania’s executive director of the Office of Student Conduct, and the school’s Title IX officer.

“We are writing to report a potential violation of Pennsylvania Code of Law Section 3127 [indecent exposure] and of Title IX and of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence and Stalking Policy,” the letter stated. 

“While not first-hand witnesses or members of the University of Pennsylvania community (although there is at least one alumna among us), there are news reports identifying sufficient information to initiate an investigation,” the letter continued, adding that “many, if not most, of the female athletes on the University’s swim team fear retaliation and are concerned about maintaining their scholarships and reputation in the community” for speaking out.

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The letter stipulates that “a report such as this one should be considered an adequate basis requiring law enforcement and the university to conduct an investigation without any female members of the swim team having to make an individual direct report themselves.” 

The Examiner claimed in their report that there are women on the team as young as 17 years old. Furthemore, Thomas competed on the men’s swim team at UPenn for three years before joining the women’s team.

“Lia Thomas’s male nudity is unwanted in the women's locker room, and that it makes teammates uncomfortable, should have been enough for the school to take action,” the report stated. “Yet, the serious claims and allegations made in this letter were seemingly ignored by all of them, based on what I was told.”

“Based on the lack of acknowledgement or response to the letter, it appears that UPenn and the city of Philadelphia have decided they are going to impose their own will and morality on the matter and ignore any claims of potential harm or code violations and any of the legal liability that could accompany them,” it continued. “The school and the city appear to be willfully ignoring the safety concerns of female students about indecent exposure by a male student.”

Thomas has been at the center of controversy this season after breaking several women’s swimming records. Previously, a swimmer who spoke to the Examiner on the condition of anonymity said that Thomas “compares herself to Jackie Robinson” and “mocks” competing on the women’s swim team. In a separate interview, an unnamed female UPenn swimmer said that Thomas “was not even close” to being competitive as a male athlete.

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