Critics are sounding off on the participation of trans female athletes in girls sports following University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas' win in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships on Thursday.
Thomas, who previously swam for the men's team before transitioning to female in 2019 and sparking a national debate, finished the race with a time of 4:33.24, more than a full second ahead of second place finisher Emma Weyant.
Those critical of Thomas' participation took to Twitter following the swimmer's controversial win, with some arguing it set a bad precedent that would ensure the "murder of women's sports", and others congratulating Weyant, arguing she was the real winner.
"Round of applause for Emma Weyant, the UVA swimmer who placed second in the 500y freestyle tonight, behind Lia Thomas. Second is the new first," wrote former Department of Education press secretary Angela Morabito, while another user tweeted, "Shout out to Tylor Mathieu that would have been in the top 8 tonight in the 500 free at @NCAA Swimming Championships if Lia Thomas didn’t take a spot away from her."
"Women (and men) are committing a slow and purposeful murder of women's sports," added NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck.
Some critics questioned why the NCAA and universities or colleges would allow men to compete in women's sports in the first place, arguing that it didn't make sense. Others lamented that there weren't more female athletes speaking out against the inclusion of athletes like Thomas.
"I have looked at this Lia Thomas situation objectively, with an open-mind and really read as much as possible on it. It will never make sense that Penn and the NCAA let Thomas compete with women. It just never will. And it serves as an incredibly scary precedent," wrote local Pittsburgh radio show host Colin Dunlap.
Writer Kimberly Ross felt similarly, tweeting, "Lia Thomas is a male. He won not because his skills improved, but because he’s stronger and faster than the actual female competitors. Period. It’s not a positive. It is NOT progress. It’s a slap in the face to women and girls, and it pisses me off. I don’t accept it."
"It’s sad how female athletes won’t speak out against the inclusion of Lia Thomas. They’re either so afraid to get canceled or they don’t think males have a genuine physical advantage over females," wrote journalist Ian Miles Cheong.