The debate over the unfair advantage of transgender swimmers rages on


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The controversy over transgender swimmers in official competition continues.

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Case in point: Lia Thomas, going male-to-female, and Iszac Henig, going female-to-male, recorded the fastest stint times at the Ivy League Women’s Championship on Wednesday night competing directly in the first leg of the 800-yard freestyle at Harvard, according to

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Thomas, 22, previously swam for Penn State’s men’s team in 2019 when she started taking testosterone blockers and estrogen, and can compete as a woman because she’s had a year of hormone therapy.

Henig, meanwhile, a 21-year-old swimmer from Yale, did not take hormones and is still able to compete as a woman. She swam topless with visible scars under her shrunken breasts and wearing men’s swim briefs.

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A new requirement was announced by USA Swimming earlier this month that transgender women must suppress testosterone levels for three years prior to competition, meaning Thomas would not have been eligible.

Yale transgender swimmer Iszac Henig walks to other teammates after warming up for the 50-meter freestyle during the Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 17 February 2022. Photo by Joseph Prezioso /AFP via Getty Images

The NCAA Championships in Atlanta in March initially announced they would follow these new rules, but last week the national body overseeing college sports said a new mid-season policy was unfair to Thomas. can compete.

“If a cis woman gets caught twice taking testosterone, she’s banned for life, whereas Lia had 10 years of testosterone,” Nancy Hogshead-Makar, president of advocacy group Champion Women, told the dailymail. .com.

According to CNN, Hogshead-Makar, a three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, arranged a letter signed by 16 of Thomas’ unnamed teammates expressing concern about her participation.

Yale swimmer Iszac Henig and Penn swimmer Lia Thomas.
Yale swimmer Iszac Henig and Penn swimmer Lia Thomas. Photo by Yale Athletics; Penn Athletics

“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over the competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her ranking which went from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” the letter reads in part.

However, other members of the Penn State team stood by her, saying in part that those sentiments “are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn State team.”


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