By Valerie Richardson, featuring Jennifer Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas may be setting records in the pool, but her standout collegiate season is also propelling Republican-sponsored bills to prevent male-born athletes from competing in female sports.
Take Arizona. Last week, Democrats who blasted the Save Women’s Sports Act during floor debate as a solution in search of a problem were met with an update on the University of Pennsylvania senior’s winning run on the women’s team after three years competing as a man.
“Opponents of equality in women’s sports love to say that this isn’t a problem, it’s just two transgender high school runners in Connecticut. Well, it’s not just two transgender runners in Connecticut,” said Jennifer Braceras, director of the Independent Women’s Law Center.
Federal lawmakers have taken notice. Last week, Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, linked the Thomas case to his Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which would ensure that Title IX treats sex as “a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
“The immutable characteristics [of] Lia Thomas’s male biology is something that puts female competitors at a disadvantage relative to Lia Thomas,” said Mr. Lee on a press call held by the Independent Women’s Forum. “That’s a fact that I honestly believe most women and most men recognize.”
The Ivy League said the revamped criteria will not prevent Thomas from competing in the Feb. 16-19 league championships at Harvard. An NCAA committee plans to review the USA Swimming standards later this month.
“The recent rule changes do not impact Lia‘s eligibility for this month’s Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships as the effective date for this unprecedented midseason NCAA policy change begins with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships,” said the Ivy League in an email.
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