The father of a female swimmer on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team said in an interview this week that the school breached trust and failed to protect his daughter by allowing biological male swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas to compete on the women’s team this season and share a locker room with the team.
The father made the remarks in an interview with The Washington Examiner on the condition of anonymity.
“I can’t say she’s been traumatized, but there was definitely a breach of trust and a failure on the part of Penn to protect her,” the father told The Examiner.
“In the fall of 2019, when Lia first came out, the girls were told she would have her own separate space somewhere,” the father said regarding Thomas sharing the locker room with female swimmers. “For some reason, that obviously changed. I’m not sure why it changed. Was it money? Was it legal threats?”
As Matt covered earlier this year, members of the UPenn women’s swim team felt uncomfortable sharing the locker room with Thomas. An anonymous swimmer told Daily Mail that Thomas “still has male body parts and is still attracted to women.” The swimmer added that other members of the team spoke to the team’s coaches about the issue, but the discussions did not go anywhere.
“Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” the anonymous swimmer told Daily Mail. “But 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 father who spoke with Examiner echoed what the female swimmer who spoke to the Daily Mail said about the locker room situation.
“Regarding Lia in the locker room, Penn told any female swimmers who had issues to essentially ‘get over it,’" the father said. "They can’t ostracize Lia.”
In February, I covered how UPenn and Philadelphia city officials did not answer or acknowledge a letter sent by the USA director of Keep Prisons Single Sex and Women’s Declaration International, USA, regarding Thomas sharing a locker room with women.
In addition, I also reported how non-profit legislative action committee Concerned Women for America filed a formal Civil Rights Complaint under Title IX with the U.S. Department of Education against University of Pennsylvania for refusing to protect college female athletes’ rights under federal law.
“Thomas is anatomically and biologically a male with physical capacities that are different from anatomically and biologically female athletes, which extends an unfair advantage and strips female student-athletes of opportunities afforded to them by law,” a press release detailing the lawsuit stated. “The complaint also cites reports that Thomas’ own teammates have complained about UPenn allowing a hostile environment to fester in its locker room which has put them in apprehension.”