Parents of swimmers competing alongside transgender University of Pennsylvania record-breaker Lia Thomas are demanding she be barred from future girls’ events — calling current rules a “direct threat to female athletes in every sport.”
A group of around 10 UPenn parents sent a letter to the NCAA last week demanding it changes the controversial rules that have allowed Thomas, 22, to smash numerous records, according to DailyMail.com.
“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports,” the parents reportedly wrote in the letter also forwarded to the Ivy League and university officials.
“The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport.
“What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?” they asked.
The parents claimed that Thomas — who competed in Penn’s men’s swim team for three years before coming out as transgender in 2019 — was also being damaged by the current rules because of the severe backlash she has faced.
“As the governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the onus on Lia, Lia’s teammates, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics and the Ivy League,” the parents reportedly wrote.
“And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”
One parent told DailyMail.com that many of the young swimmers have so far not spoken up because they fear being “ostracized.”
“Everybody is scared,” said the mom, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her and her daughter.
Another mom told the outlet that she felt “uncomfortable being silent” given that “our swimmers are already impacted by this situation.”
The NCAA and UPenn did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s requests for comment, the outlet said.
The university, however, sent a terse response to the parents — along with a link to the school’s mental health services and LGBT Center.
“Please know that we fully support all our swimming student-athletes and want to help our community navigate Lia’s success in the pool this winter,” the university wrote.
“Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future.”