Does transgender athlete Lia Thomas stand on a podium, collect a gold medal and believe she truly earned it? | Rebecca Jane column

Lia Thomas is the first transgender woman to compete and win in the female 500 yard freestyle swim.

By Rebecca Jane
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 4:01 pm

In the last week, most people will have seen the images of her standing in first place, next to biological female Emma Weyant. For me, it was a sad picture to see.

Lia, towers over most average height men at 6’4. Whilst Emma stands at 5’8.

Let’s kick off by saying, I support all transgender people. We all have a right to feel comfortable and supported in our own skin. There is no right or wrong to the game of life and however someone wishes to live, should be respected.

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University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas reacts after her team wins the 400 yard freestyle relay during the 2022 Ivy League Womens Swimming and Diving Championships at Blodgett Pool on February 19, 2022 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

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Let’s not get delusional though. Biologically, men are men and women are women. Surgery today is incredible, miracles can be performed to support those who don’t feel like they were born in the right body - but there’s only so far medical advancements go.

Lia still possesses the power, strength and some hormones of a male. The whole reason we have same sex competition is because physically, it is impossible to compete in some areas. If we were all equal, why didn’t unisex categories exist before?

Lia went from 522nd in the world when she competed in male categories last year. This year, in female categories, she is 1st.

Isn’t sport about sportsmanship? A fair game? Doing the right thing? For me, in this instance, Lia has well and truly played a very advantageous card and ultimately cheated the game.

I ask, at what point can Lia stand on the podium, next to a very physically imbalanced Emma and think she won her race fair and square? How does that victory feel? Integrity seems to be missing from this equation.

What about Emma? The majority of people support Lia out of the pool, shouldn’t we also support Emma? In this case, she is so biologically ‘disadvantaged’ what chance did she ever have of taking home the title?

Emma Weyant did not sign up for THIS race. I suspect she has grafted all her life for this moment. Spending relentless hours training to be the ultimate athlete she can be for her gender. Then at the last minute, in comes someone with strength and power that she will never be able to match. No matter how hard she trains, the game is unfair and unbalanced. Why should Emma be limited in what she can achieve when she played the game fair and square?

We cannot really blame Lia for this episode. The responsibility firmly lay with the NCAA, who allowed this to happen. Why? Probably because they were too fearful of the woke brigade of snowflakes picketing their doorstep.

What is the solution? I think our world is evolving enough to have separate categories for trans athletes. It may not be the perfect solution, but right now, there is not another option.

Biology is biology. Nature may have got it wrong for some people, but it still exists. So, for today, I’ll leave you with the words of my friend Sophie Corcoran.

‘I could call myself a fish, if I wanted to. It doesn’t make me a fish however as I lack the properties of a fish.’