‘Don’t Talk To The Media’: Former UPenn Swimmer Says College Silenced Trans Swimmer’s Teammates

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A former swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania said on Monday that school officials told members of the team not to discuss transgender teammate Lia Thomas with the media.

“Our university actually just didn’t really have any conversations with us at all about our concerns with the situation happening, and then once it was already a media storm, and Thomas was already breaking all these records, that’s when they came in and told us, please don’t talk to the media, this is a non-negotiable and provided us with counseling services if we objected,” former UPenn swimmer Paula Scanlan told Fox Business host Stuart Varney. The issue of biological males who identify as transgender competing in women’s sports made national headlines following Thomas’s participation in the 2022 NCAA championships, where the biological male won the 500-yard women’s final. (RELATED: Volleyball Player Injured By Trans Athlete Rips Karine Jean-Pierre Over Men Playing Women’s Sports)


“They brought in a whole panel of individuals, someone from the LGBT Center, someone from the psychological services and a bunch of people from the athletic department,” Scanlan added.

Sixteen of Thomas’ teammates wrote the NCAA anonymously in February, urging that Thomas be barred from competing.

The Biden administration proposed new regulations involving Title IX on April 6 that would prohibit states from barring biological males from competing in women’s sports. Two dozen governors called on the Biden administration to withdraw the proposed regulations on May 12.

Riley Gaines, who competed for the University of Kentucky in the 2022 NCAA Championships, previously criticized Thomas’ participation in the event.

“Obviously I know how I felt and I knew how my teammates felt, but no one really wanted to talk about it,” Gaines told Daily Caller and Daily Caller News Foundation co-founder Tucker Carlson during a July 2022 appearance on his Fox News program. “And so, this was on day one, and then that night we watched Lia Thomas win a national title and blow all the other females completely out of the water.”

Scanlan also said that the NCAA’s standards were lax compared to those of the sport’s international governing body, World Aquatics, previously known as Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), French for International Swimming Federation.

“The governing body of swimming called FINA, they actually put in a rule that said, if you don’t transition before the age of 12, you are not allowed to compete internationally,” Scanlan said. “So in terms of Lia Thomas, or another — another individual that’s like that going to the Olympics, that’s not going to happen. But in terms of the NCAA, the NCAA hasn’t changed any of its policies regarding transgender individuals. It’s about a year of testosterone blockers and hormone replacement therapy, and then you’re good to go to compete on the women’s team.”

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