A large group of parents from across five Ivy League schools wrote to The Post about the experiences of their children competing against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who won the 500-yard freestyle in the collegiate national championships Thursday night. They say that Thomas, who has lived and competed primarily as a man, has an unfair advantage — but to say so invites backlash, which is why the letter signers are anonymous to protect their kids.
As parents of Ivy League swimmers, from men’s and women’s teams across the league, we have witnessed firsthand the utter abandonment of women and girls this year.
Ironically, during Women’s History Month, the subjugation of our daughters continues at the Women’s NCAA Swimming Championships when Lia Thomas, a biological male, took a lane and a podium from a deserving female swimmer on Thursday. Lia has now broken female legacy records in both the Ivy League and the NCAA.
We are furious and most everyone in our community is furious as well. Parents, coaches, swimmers, and rational, logical people know this is grossly unfair. Female swimmers have not consented to this. In fact, many of them expressly said no. What response did they receive?
Be quiet. A new ideology ruled. “Transwomen are women” no exceptions; the girls’ concerns: “transphobic.”
They courageously spoke to coaches about the injustice they faced in the pool. They expressed how uncomfortable the locker rooms were with male nudity. When they were turned away, they went to their athletic departments and administration. They were turned away again.
As the public outrage grew, a propaganda machine that would make Russia jealous was wheeled out. If the girls had a problem, they were told to seek counseling. Team meetings were called at every school to communicate a singular message; coercive and emotionally blackmailing written instructions were distributed at Harvard and Penn. Everyone was cowed into silence while institutions spared no expense on T-shirts, banners and public statements supporting Lia.
Even as some people began to advocate on their behalf, the universities and the NCAA continued to ignore women.
Several of us wished to remove our girls from the schools. We offered to pull them, bang on doors demanding fair treatment, any action they wanted to take. Already handling the emotional burden of knowing their perspectives were unwanted, their treatment not important, their lives a blur of studying and training, they could handle no more pressure to alienate what was left of their world.
Athletic associations are cautiously asking: How do we balance fairness and inclusion? And they ask scientists to tell them the precise level to which a male body needs to be impaired to compete fairly against women.
But they are asking the wrong questions. These questions are misogynistic, degrading, and dehumanizing for women. There is no balance of fairness to assess. Women deserve fairness without caveat, and they should not be asked to shoulder the mental health of others at their own expense. A male body cannot become a female body. A woman is not a disadvantaged man.
This is not just a swimming issue. Lia Thomas, Laurel Hubbard, Cece Telfer, Hannah Mouncey, Stephanie Barrett, Rachel McKinnon, Andraya Yearwood — the list continues — these are just some of the more publicly known male-bodied athletes that have robbed thousands of women of fair treatment in sport. Women pay a deep psychological toll, competing or not, when told they are undeserving of fair competition.
No athlete is excluded from sport when sex-based categories are protected. We can welcome people who do not fit societal norms and still recognize biology.
No one deserves mistreatment or workplace discrimination, but women’s sex-based rights to safety and fair treatment are not negotiable. Women’s protected rights have been rolled back. We are now aware. We demand change. Demand it with us.
Write to your representatives, go to town halls, speak with people involved in schools and politics. We are. Educate yourself on the laws being promoted, ostensibly in the name of inclusion. Ask yourself how they will impact females. It is going to require collective effort to undo the damage that has been done, but the well-being of women and girls demand it.
Where are the feminists, politicians and organizations that purport to support women?
Where are the National Women’s Law Center, the American Association of University Women, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Women’s Sports Foundation? They are standing by and cheering as women are redefined and minimized.
This should not be partisan. We represent all sides of the political spectrum, but to our knowledge, no Democratic politicians have publicly stated that this is wrong.
Thankfully, Champion Women, Independent Women’s Forum, and a host of Republican leaders have stood up in support of fair treatment and safeguarding the rights of women and girls. We need our Democratic friends to join us.
Women’s boundaries, women’s bodies, their fair treatment, respect and dignity are not up for reimagining by men. Women and girls are not acceptable collateral damage in social change.
It’s time to defend women.