University of Pennsylvania’s trans swimmer Lia Thomas has been causing a stir in the locker room amongst teammates. In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, one of the swimmers shared some information about what the teammates have been experiencing.
The swimmer said there have been some concerns over sharing a locker room with Lia. “It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” she told DailyMail.com. Apparently, Lia has explicitly told teammates that he still dates women.
Teammates Are Uncomfortable with Some of Lia’s Actions
Although Lia uses a towel to cover himself sometimes, the swimmer said there is still nudity and Lia’s body parts are exposed from time to time – at least enough to make multiple teammates uncomfortable. The swimmer told DailyMail.com that Lia “doesn’t seem to care how it makes anyone else feel.” It’s as if all 35 of the team swimmers are supposed to swallow their discomfort in order to make Lia feel at home.
“Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” the swimmer said. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”
He also told DailyMail.com that it seems as though Lia is enjoying all the attention he is getting as a transgender athlete and he isn’t considering the feelings of her teammates.
How UPenn Is Responding to the Matter
“The school was so focused on making sure Lia was okay, and doing everything they possibly could do for her, that they didn’t even think about the rest of us,” the swimmer said. “It just seems like the women who built this program and the people who were here before Lia don’t matter.”
UPenn announced last month that it would begin offering mental health services to athletes at school, but other than that, there hasn’t been an official response to these young ladies’ feedback about Lia’s presence in the locker room.
Instead of UPenn making decisions about whether Lia should compete, the whole case has been handed over to USA Swimming. “USA Swimming firmly believes in inclusivity and the opportunity for all athletes to experience the sport of swimming in a manner consistent with their gender identity and expression,” they stated recently. However, the organization is considering a new policy.
For now, it seems that Lia's teammates will have to simply deal with the situation – or choose to leave the swim team altogether.