Thomas, who won an NCAA national championship against female swimmers last year, told fellow trans swimmer and podcast host Schuyler Bailar that Thomas’ teammates were "using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs" when they penned a 2022 letter asking the division to bar Thomas from competing against women.
"They’re like, 'Oh, we respect Lia, as a woman, as a trans woman or whatever, we respect her identity, we just don’t think it’s fair.' You can’t really have that sort of half-support where you’re like, 'Oh, I respect her as a woman here, but not here,'" Thomas said.
"They’re using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs. I think a lot of people in that camp sort of carry an implicit bias against trans people, but don’t want to, I guess, fully manifest or speak that out. And so they try to just play it off as this sort of half-support."
Thomas said during the interview that false feminists are impeding women’s rights by fighting biological males that identify as women. The pod aired four days after House Republicans passed a bill protecting women’s sports from biological male competitors.
Thomas claimed that so-called TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, were limiting the definition of women to rely on biology, and that this adherence to the definition was controlling people’s bodies.
Bailar, who was the first openly transgender swimmer in the NCAA Division I, transitioning from presenting as a woman to presenting and identifying as male, agreed with Thomas, adding that TERFs work against the values of feminism.
During the pair’s conversation, Bailar said that the exclusion of biological males from women’s sports was like the "black and brown women, any women that deviate from this, like, image of womanhood."
The concept that race is more innate than biological sex has been criticized by many gender critical feminists, who say that all races contain biologically sexed individuals, and that sex doesn't change.
Bailar recalled visiting a conference where women were protesting the inclusion of biological males outside, and asking them "what is the pain that trans women are causing them."
"And the answer was something about opportunities being taken away. And first of all, it’s the same exact arguments that came up when black women began to be in sports, which you know, it’s just you don’t want a woman who doesn’t look like you, perhaps, or who isn’t fitting your version of womanhood to win."
Bailar said that instead of being upset that a biological man won over female athletes, they should instead be taught to be "resilient to losing, right, or resilient to not winning."
"They think about how twisted 'feminism' has become their arguments. In order to exclude anybody in the trans category, you have to reduce women to reproductive capacity, which is, in my opinion, extremely anti-feminist," Bailar said.
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