By Paulina Dedaj of Fox News, featuring Jennifer Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center
Lia Thomas’ emergence in competitive sports has sparked a massive debate surrounding the fairness of transgender women competing against biological females. But as the debate heats up amid her aspirations to continue on to the Olympics, several major women’s rights advocacy groups have remained silent about their positions on the issue.
Fox News Digital reached out to several women’s advocacy groups on the matter including the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Neither responded to repeated requests for comment.
In response to the same request, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) provided Fox News Digital in an email with its previously posted position on transgender athletes, which was to advocate “for inclusion of all girls and women” in sports, including allowing transgender athletes to “compete consistent with their gender identity.”
“The primary mission of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is to advocate for inclusion of all girls and women, which includes combatting any transgender athlete bans that limit opportunities and harm the development of both cisgender and transgender girls and women,” the statement read. “At the youth level (e.g., K-12), sports participation policies should focus on the ability for youth to play and compete consistent with their gender identity without additional regulations that could prohibit their access to sports.”
WSF previously released a similar statement in March 2021 in response to the Equity Act, a Democrat-backed bill meant to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“All too often many legislators and individuals raise the topic of transgender inclusion in sports as a reason to slow down the progress of this important Act. Many of these concerns and objections perpetuate misinformation around transgender athletes,” the statement read, in part. “Let us be clear, there are many real threats to girls’ and women’s access and opportunity in sports; however, transgender inclusion is not one of them.”
But, Director of the Independent Women’s Law Center Jennifer Braceras argued in response to the WSF’s statement that the inclusion of transgender athletes in competitive sports does take opportunities away from biological females.
“Allowing athletes like Lia Thomas into women’s competitions takes opportunities away from female athletes. Not just opportunities to win, but opportunities to compete at all. LGBTQ supporters Martina Navraliova and Caitlyn Jenner, both top athletes, understand that. It’s sad, and deeply ironic, that the Women’s Sports Foundation does not. If WSF favors sidelining female athletes to make room for biological males, it should probably drop the W from its name,” Braceras said in an email to Fox News Digital.
Thomas was at the center of an ongoing debate surrounding trans athletes’ participation in competitive sports when she began undergoing hormone therapy treatment to compete on the women’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, after competing on the men’s team for three years.
In the wake of Thomas’ emergence on the women’s team, the NCAA updated its transgender inclusion policy in January, saying it will be determined on a sport-by-sport basis. If there is no national governing body for the sport, then the NCAA sport will follow the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) policy.