During a House Judiciary Committee hearing On Thursday, former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan shut down Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen's idea that "barriers" in the women's locker room are a solution to males changing in front of women.
"Transgender people have been around for a long time," Cohen said, "and they have rights and they need to be respected. I read Miss Scanlan's testimony. I wasn't here to hear it and I think Penn didn't deal with your situation like they could have, they should have been putting up some type of different barriers in the women's area of the locker room."
"Things should be dealt with in a different way," he added.
Florida Representative Matt Gaetz asked Scanlan if she agreed that the situation would have been resolved by adding barriers.
She responded, "I think by Representative Cohen admitting that we need barriers acknowledges there are biological differences between men and women."
"By acknowledging that we need to have private spaces that are separate from each other. Why can't we just use the locker rooms that we've always used, men's and the women's?" She questioned.
"If you're acknowledging that we need protection and privacy from these men, then you're acknowledging that the locker rooms we've always used are the correct ones."
Scanlan competed on the UPenn swim team with trans-identifying male swimmer Lia Thomas and holds the New England Independent School League record in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Earlier in her testimony, she described what it was like to compete on the same swim team with a male athlete.
She said that she and her teammates "were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a 6' 4" tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia 18 times per week." She added, "When we tried to voice our concerns to the athletic department, we were told that Lia's swimming and being in our locker room was a non-negotiable and we were offered psychological services to attempt to re-educate us to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male."
"To sum up the university's response," Scanlan said. "We the women were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform, to move over and shut up. Our feelings didn't matter. The university was gaslighting and fear-mongering women to validate the feelings and identity of a male."
Lia Thomas is a biological male who began transitioning while swimming at UPENN. In the 500-yard freestyle, Thomas went from being ranked in the mid-400s on the men's team to winning the NCAA championship in the women's category.
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines described her experience with Thomas as a "biological man dropping his pants and watching us undress and we're exposed to male genitalia."
After the championships, Thomas defended male athletes competing in female sports by saying, "I'm happy." Thomas has recently become a trans activist and was recently spotted wearing an "Antifa Super Soldier" t-shirt.
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