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Tipsheet

Lia Thomas Loses Bid for NCAA Woman of the Year Award

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Biologial male “transgender” swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas’ bid for NCAA’s 2022 Woman of the Year came to an end this week.

The Ivy League pick for Woman of the Year was Columbia University fencer Sylvie Binder rather than Thomas, who competed on the women’s swim team at University of Pennsylvania this past year. 

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Thomas’ nomination drew attention, as Townhall has covered how Thomas competed on the men’s team at UPenn for three consecutive seasons before joining the women’s team last year. Thomas made headlines for breaking records competing against women and taking home an NCAA Division I title at the NCAA championships in March. 

In an interview with Sports Illustrated in March, Thomas doubled-down on competing against women and claimed that the wins and records don’t matter. 

“I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team,” Thomas said in the interview with SI. SI added in their feature of Thomas that “she’s not thinking about wins or records, she [Thomas] insists.”

SI’s claims were contrary to what Thomas’ teammates stated in anonymous interviews in the months leading up to the piece being published. Earlier in the year, a female UPenn swimmer told The Washington Examiner that Thomas “compares herself to Jackie Robinson” and “mocks” competing on the women’s team, as Townhall covered. Thomas made headlines late last year after winning a 1,650-yard freestyle race where the runner-up finished 38 seconds behind.

“All she does is make comments to people like, ‘At least I’m still No. 1 in the country,’ and those kinds of cocky things,” the swimmer told the Examiner. “She doesn’t care how all this is affecting us and how this is affecting our relationship to swimming. She doesn't care, and it makes it really hard to like her.”

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In another interview with the Examiner, an anonymous female UPenn swimmer said that Thomas “was not even close to being competitive as a man in the 50 and the 100 (freestyle events),” and that “just because Lia is biologically a man, [Lia] is just naturally better than many females in the 50 and the 100 or anything that [Lia] wasn’t good at as a man.” 

In addition, a teammate told Daily Mail that Thomas makes the women’s locker room uncomfortable, which Matt covered.

“It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” the 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.”

Last month, I interviewed Kim Jones, a former all-American tennis player, at an event in Washington, D.C. commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The event, “Our Bodies, Our Sports” surrounded the future of women’s sports now that biological males are being allowed to compete against women. In our conversation, Jones told me how her daughter competed against Thomas this past season.

"Last year, my daughter had to race Lia Thomas in the Ivy League throughout the year. And what I learned is that women are easily cast aside and told to be quiet when they face an injustice. It's just not the world I'm willing to leave for my granddaughters," Jones said. "Women deserve respect, they deserve fair competition, they deserve equal access to opportunities relative to their male counterparts. I'm passionate about preserving that for the next group of women."

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This year, USA Today included Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, in its list for “Women of the Year.” Levine, a four-star admiral, is a biological male living as a woman.

Several political commentators shared their thoughts on the matter on Twitter, pointing out that Levine is not a woman and called recognition by USA Today “ridiculous.”

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