Should Lia Thomas be allowed to swim in the Womens Category?

Should Lia Thomas be allowed to swim in the Womens Category?


All About

     Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who was assigned male at birth now identifies as a woman. After undergoing 2 years of hormone replacement therapy, Lia Thomas has already achieved 2 of the fastest times of any female college swimmer as well as shattering all kinds of records. What does this mean for women’s swimming? If transgender women want to undergo surgical transitions, who are we to judge? But should they be allowed to swim at an NCAA Division 1 women’s event? Is this fair?


Difference between Transgender Women and Cisgender Women

     When someone a transwoman transitions, she may still have an athletic advantage over ciswomen. Men are statistically faster than women because of their testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone present in both men and women, but men produce 20x more testosterone than women. Testosterone is what makes men larger and more muscular than women. This already gives men an unfair advantage against women. Transgender women will still have testosterone levels higher than cisgender women making it an unfair advantage. This is still one of the small factors, another one being that men are typically taller and of more muscle mass than women. For instance, Lia Thomas is 6 foot 1, now comparing her to the 2 swimmers she swam next to at the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Swimming Championships. Emma Weyant and Erica Sully, both Olympic Silver medalists, are 5’4 and 5’8. Now, this is a large difference and clearly unfair towards the other swimmers. 


The NCAA’s Approach

     The NCAA has recently announced that they will not be changing the previously approved testosterone policy regarding transgender women. Many people are furious with this decision because it still deems the competition as unfair and gives swimmers like Lia Thomas an unfair advantage. Many people are also mad because USA Swimming has recently changed their policy, the new one now states that ‘no transgender athlete would be allowed to compete in the women’s category.’ People are enraged at the NCAA because they have not adopted USA Swimming’s policy of creating a fair playing field. Although the NCAA decided at the beginning of the school year to not adopt this policy, they still can change their minds. But some say it is better to wait so that they don’t face even more issues, from dealing with backlash, including litigation, based on rules changing during the middle of an academic school year.


     My personal opinion on this topic is definitely biased because I am a swimmer, looking at this issue from a personal perspective I definitely think it is unfair. If I got second in a race and someone like Lia Thomas beat me I would definitely be frustrated, now of course she is a woman, she feels comfortable as a woman. Now I think that great, we as a society should not judge her. But at the end of the day, she is a transgender woman which gives her an advantage in the pool against other girls who were biologically born females. I think they should create a new category, a category in which transgender women can only compete against other transgender women. The same for transmen should be applicable. This type of activity should not be acceptable, at the end of the day, it is certainly unfair and takes opportunities away from the other swimmers who deserve it.