Swimmer Lia Thomas — a male who identifies as female — recently said women critical of transgender individuals competing against female athletes are actually “transphobic” but are too fearful to admit it.
Thomas, who accused women of using the “guise of feminism” to “push transphobic beliefs,” also argued it’s “patriarchal” to think there are distinct physical markers differentiating males and females.
The ex-University of Pennsylvania athlete made the comments on former NCAA swimmer Schuyler Bailar’s podcast.
Bailar, a female who identifies as male, agreed with Thomas, claiming women are not actually upset about males stepping into female spaces. Rather, the NCAA athlete asserted, the anger women feel is actually misplaced frustration over the “patriarchy,” though, in Bailar’s mind, they don’t understand that.
“They’re using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs,” said Thomas. “I think a lot of people in that camp sort of carry an implicit bias against trans people, but don’t want to, I guess, fully manifest or speak that out. And so they try to just play it off as this sort of half-support.”
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The swimmer continued, “At the end of the day, everybody’s trying to — under a true feminist — is everybody trying to come together to sort of break down these patriarchal ideals of what a woman is and who can be a woman and sort of open that up to the very broad range of possibilities that there are.”
Bailar further claimed women have “twisted” feminism by “reduc[ing] women to reproductive capacity,” referring to the biological makeup unique to females. Bailar said holding oneself to that scientific understanding of biology is “extremely anti-feminist.”
The conversation between Thomas and Bailar comes after actor and comedian Rob Schneider encouraged female athletes to “refuse to play” against transgender competitors.
Schneider, a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, shared his comments in response to a video of Payton McNabb, a high school volleyball player urging North Carolina lawmakers to ban transgender athletes born males from playing on female sports teams.
McNabb began speaking out for female athletes after she suffered a concussion and a serious neck injury when a transgender player spiked a ball at her, leaving her to deal with longterm medical issues.
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