March 24, 2022

First known transgender athlete to win Division I national championship: Some folks are none too pleased with Lia Thomas being allowed to compete to begin with. Two Republican governors weigh in with their own opinion or action. Former competitive swimmer, Kelsie Vaughn gets the last word on her Facebook page (posted as a comment below)

posted by NoMich to culture at 02:19 PM - 5 comments

A former swimmer's thoughts on Lia:

None of you cared about women's sports before you had a "reason" to. Beyond that though, Lia has not dominated this sport. Nor have any other trans athletes. She placed 5th and 8th in other events at that meet. (Also the 500 free sucks and I've even seen many a MAN flop out of the water following that event. I give mad props to whoever does this event. I purposely sandbaged it so I would never have to do it again)

"But her wing span and height!! THE BIOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES!!!!!!" Michael Phelps has a longer than average wingspan, a larger web in this feet and hands, hyperextended joints (main advantage in his ankles), and produced less lactic acid than other athletes. No one complained about his advantages and he (more or less) dominated his sport. Some women are tall also, but if it's a tall woman AFAB athlete no one yells that they should compete with males. If you go after one athletes body you have to go for them all. If you only go after Lia or other trans female athletes, you're transphobic. Furthermore where do we draw the line with "natural advantages"?

"But she AMAB!!!" So? They had to test her hormone levels before she swam. She had no more testosterone than what was outside a female limit. Her muscle mass began decreasing at 3-6 months. Then I also pose the question to you, what about intersex people? She took 2 years off of school to make sure she could participate in this sport. Let her swim.

NCAA let her compete. Be mad at NCAA, not Lia. She's a person not a political pawn. Even USA Swimming says they have no problem with Lia representing them in Paris for 2024 Olympicss as a woman athlete. Furthermore, watch what you say. Someone you know who's listening to your HATEFUL rhetoric probably loves someone who identifies as trans or queer as well as an athlete.

She's the first transgender athlete to win a division 1 NCAA title. If "men" are the threat to sports why has it taken this long for someone trans to win a title? The REAL threat to women's sports is not other women (INCLUDING TRANSFEMALE ATHLETES). It's the lack of funding, protection, and strong female leadership. It's also the rampant sexual harassment and unequal pay. So think about that.

PS. I'm literally looking at her times right now and you can tell how she's had to work hard to get her times back. Her 500 free times are no where near consistent, and her other times are really scattered too. Looking at times of other high ranking swimmers Lia fares about equal to them. Just so you know...

posted by NoMich at 02:20 PM on March 24, 2022

I appreciate that there are reservations regarding transgender athletes, particularly those born in male bodies. I do. It's a complicated subject and not something that is intuitive to the cisgendered. That said, it's OK to ask questions. It's OK to want reassurance that allowing transgender women to compete won't alter the playing field. Really, I don't think it's disrespectful to be curious or even cautious.

That said, if you claim to care or claim to be curious, how about looking at the actual science rather than just defaulting to your own fears and bigotry? Instead of saying "she was born a boy, so she's bigger and stronger!", how about doing a little research into what changes a transgender woman's body goes through when she reassigns? Understand the facts regarding the trauma a body goes through to transition; understand testosterone levels; understand that the advantages you thought would arise don't.

But also, what Ms. Vaughn said. If you've never cared about women's sports before, why do you care now? If you're being honest, it probably because you're scared of the "others" who are being empowered by modern society to live their true lives.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:38 PM on March 24, 2022

If you're being honest, it probably because you're scared

If I was a fear broker in today's market, I'd be richer than any hedge fund manager.

posted by beaverboard at 03:46 PM on March 24, 2022

If the governing body of a sport says it is fair for a transgender athlete to compete, that's good enough for me.

It is a terrible tragedy that so many are demonizing transgender people in sports and everywhere else. Instead of learning about what life is like for them, they just grab the torches and pitchforks. These sad bigots are going to be remembered the same way as the Southern whites screaming at black children walking into their newly segregated schools.

posted by rcade at 07:46 PM on March 24, 2022

That letter from the Governor of Utah is really quite something. The stats in the screenshot in the linked tweet are eye-opening, although the rest of his letter is a well-reasoned and thoughtful treatise on the entire process and what's at stake and how laws should be passed. Good for him for calling on his own party colleagues to put down the pitchforks and think comprehensively about what they're doing. Now, he does suggest that he expects his veto to be overridden, though he also appeals to their sensibilities in that he expects passage to result in a number of lawsuits and potentially big cost impacts.

posted by bender at 02:40 PM on March 25, 2022

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