There is no material difference between a male and a trans woman, no matter how politically wrong it is to say so.
Dash, a superhero boy with exceptional speed, competes in his middle-school track race towards the end of The Incredibles. As Dash speeds past his non-super friends, his father, a plainclothes Mr. Incredible, exclaims, "Make it close!" Mrs. Incredible adds, "Go for second!" Dash, who has hardly broken a sweat, offers his parents a thumbs-up while the other participants catch their breath after crossing the finish line. If only the swimming coach at the University of Pennsylvania had used the same method while permitting a transgender-identifying male swimmer to dominate the women's squad.
Will Thomas was an average swimmer in the men's swimming division from 2016 and 2019. Thomas, on the other hand, has been breaking records at every step since assuming a female name (Lia) and identity. Now, Thomas is rumored to be the best female swimmer in the country, having the fastest 500-yard female freestyle in the country and the Penn women's team's all-time record. Thomas has been smashing the competition in a sport notorious for razor-thin margins. Thomas's performance in the 200-yard dash at the Zippy Invitational at the University of Akron was faster than his gold-medal mark in the NCAA championships last year, while his time in the 500 freestyle was 4:34:06 – a margin of victory of more than 14 seconds. In the 1650 freestyle, Thomas won by more than 38 seconds over the second-placed woman.
The explanation for such incredible wins is biology, not aptitude or superpowers. Thomas is bigger, quicker, and stronger than most female athletes since he is physiologically male and went through male puberty with all the androgenizing perks that comes with it.
Thomas' female teammates can attest to this. Two teammates have spoken out anonymously to the sports website OutKick despite being "seriously instructed" to remain silent. "Pretty much everyone has expressed their displeasure with this to our instructors." Mike Schnur, our coach, simply enjoys winning. He's like the majority of coaches. "I believe everyone secretly understands it's the wrong thing to do," one stated.
She pointed out that Thomas's greatest swimming performances as a woman aren't far off from the college records established by future Olympic gold medalists Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky at the time. (The editor of Swimming World has noted that both of their records are now under threat.)
Another teammate spoke of how soul-crushing it is for the other competitors who know they don’t stand a chance of winning.
“Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race,” she said. “Lia touched the wall, and it was just silent in there. When fellow Penn swimmer Anna Kalandadze finished second, the crowd erupted in applause.”
However, Thomas, like UPenn, sees no issue, claiming that "everyone is able to compete in the category they're most comfortable with unless there's a demonstrated unfair advantage that they have."
Even if Thomas complies with NCAA rules requiring testosterone suppression treatment for male-to-female athletes for a year, this is woefully insufficient in mitigating sex-based advantages that have developed over time and do not simply disappear with chemical or surgical interventions. In any event, such policies fail on principle. There is no material difference between a male and a trans woman, no matter how politically wrong it is to say so. This is a simple task. Women should be the only ones competing in women's sports.