Lia Thomas demanded that President Joe Biden’s new Title IX proposal include additional safeguards to permit biological male athletes to compete in female sports and called fairness concerns a “guise” in an Instagram video published on Monday.
Thomas, a former transgender athlete, and competed, addressed concerns that new proposals to Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, do not go far enough to ensure that transgender athletes can compete in divisions that match their gender identity, according to the video. The proposal prohibits schools from enforcing “categorical” bans on transgender athletes but would allow for exceptions based on the sport, grade and level of competition. (RELATED: Trans, Nonbinary Legislators Send Letter Criticizing Biden Title IX Proposal On Athletics)
“The Department of Education has proposed a new rule for Title IX regarding transgender athletes; this rule would prohibit blanket bans on transgender kids, especially in grades K through 8,” Thomas said in the video. “However, it would not prohibit discrimination against trans kids in the high school and college levels under the guise of competitive fairness.”
Thomas competed on the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team during the 2021-2022 academic year after previously competing on the men’s team. Thomas won multiple championship titles including a first-place finish at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships in the 500-yard freestyle — beating opponents by 1.75 seconds.
“I’m a transgender woman, a former college swimmer, and the first trans athlete to be named Division I NCAA champion,” Thomas said in the video. “I started swimming when I was 5 years old and it has given me so much. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow, develop and connect with my peers — opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t have access to athletics. That’s why it breaks my heart to see trans kids across the country lose out on these opportunities.”
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The White House said on Monday that Biden would veto a proposed bill by Republican lawmakers that would impose a nationwide ban on male athletes competing in female sports.
“Our President has declared that science, truth, and common sense no longer matter. In opposing [Protect Women & Girls in Sports Bill], President Biden is catering to a radical minority at the expense of women, who are the majority of the population,” Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer and Independent Women’s Forum spokeswomen, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Equal opportunity, privacy, and safety for women in sports shouldn’t be controversial. The women who once advocated for Title IX should be outraged as this goes against everything they fought for. Female athletes of all ages, levels, and sports deserve better.”
Gaines competed against Thomas during the NCAA championship and tied for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle. She has since become an outspoken advocate for protecting women’s sports and was quick to respond to Thomas’ quip about fairness.
“Are you really trying to say you would have won a national title against the men?” Gaines tweeted. “Does it not break your heart to see women lose out on these opportunities?”
Thomas did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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