WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A collegiate swimmer wrote an open letter to the NCAA to request rule modifications.
- The swimmer is protesting the participation of transgenders in woman’s sports.
- A transgender woman won the 500-meter freestyle where the swimmer landed 17th place.
A collegiate swimmer has sent an open letter to the NCAA, requesting rule modifications. This comes after the swimmer competed against Lia Thomas.
Virginia Tech’s Reka Gyorgy qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 500-meter freestyle in 17th place, but she was not among the top 16 swimmers who advanced to the event’s finals. Thomas, a transgender swimmer from Penn, won the 500-meter freestyle. Previously, the swimmer raced for the men’s squad, but after transitioning and undergoing hormon87e therapy, she switched to the women’s team.
Throughout the season, there has been debate concerning Thomas’ performance and the laws governing transgender athletes. While many people have backed Thomas’ right to compete, others have objected.
“Every event that transgender athletes participated in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet,” wrote Gyorgy.
Gyorgy is one of Thomas’s first direct competitors to publicly speak out. Erica Sullivan, Thomas’s competitor in the 500-meter freestyle, had previously expressed her admiration for her. In an op-ed piece, Sullivan wrote that she believed that Lia has trained diligently to get to where she is and that she did not break any rules and guidelines.
“Like anyone else in this sport, Lia doesn’t win every time. And when she does, she deserves, like anyone else in this sport, to be celebrated for her hard-won success, not labeled a cheater simply because of her identity,” Sullivan shared.
According to the American Olympic Swimmer, those who oppose the participation of transgender athletes in sports are claiming to be “protecting women’s sports,” however, Sullivan says that sexual abuse and harassment, unequal pay and resources, and a lack of women in leadership are the real threats to women’s sports and not transgender girls.
“Women’s sports are stronger when all women—including trans women—are protected from discrimination, and free to be their true selves. I’m proud to be one of more than 300 NCAA, Team USA and Olympic swimmers who signed an open letter from Schuyler Bailar and Athlete Ally in support of Lia and all transgender and nonbinary swimmers.”
Sullivan also said that she will be cheering on all the swimmers who are true to themselves, including Lia, at the NCAA championships.
Thomas’ swimming career at the collegiate level has come to an end. She became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA title in a Division 1 sport at the end of her career.
Meanwhile, the controversy around transgender athletes partaking in sports is likely to intensify in the coming years.
Source: The Spun