Critics Blast UPenn Nominating Lia Thomas for NCAA Woman of the Year Award

The University of Pennsylvania has confronted criticism this week for nominating Lia Thomas, whose success in school swim meets fueled debate about transgender girls’s inclusion in athletics, for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Thomas, a transgender lady, emerged as a star swimmer for the school this yr, turning into the primary trans athlete to win a NCAA Division I title in March after ending first within the girls’s 500-yard freestyle championship.

However, her success has sparked debate about the right way to pretty embrace transgender girls on girls’s athletic groups. Critics have argued Thomas, who transitioned in 2019, has an unfair benefit over her cisgender teammates and must be required to compete on the lads’s staff. Her supporters, then again, say trans girls competing on the staff of the gender they establish with is essential to validate their id and shouldn’t be a difficulty since Thomas meets the NCAA’s standards for trans girls athletes.

Lia Thomas award nomination sparks debate
Critics blasted the University of Pennsylvania nominating Lia Thomas for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. Thomas is a transgender lady whose victories in swim meets has fueled debate about the right way to pretty embrace trans girls in sports activities. Above, Thomas speaks to a reporter in Atlanta on March 17.
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The NCAA introduced on Friday the greater than 240 nominations for its 2022 Woman of the Year award. Thomas was included on the checklist, prompting a few of her critics to take to social media to precise their disdain over her nomination.

Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer who was additionally nominated for the award, tweeted: “Being the real girl in that photo and also University of Kentucky’s nominee for NCAA WOTY, this is yet another slap in the face to women. First a female national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. The @NCAA has made this award worthless.”

Piers Morgan known as the choice “absolutely, mind-numbingly, ridiculous.”

“I support inclusion and equality in sports. What I don’t support is a person born a male can dominate female sports. Allowing this takes away opportunities for girls and women in sports in America. Lia Thomas could and should play on the men’s teams at Penn,” tweeted Michigan radio host Bill Simonson.

“The country that recognized women as equal to men, and championed women’s rights is the same country allowing men to beat us and strip away our rights,” wrote Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who gained three Olympic gold medals within the 1984 Summer Olympics, tweeted that she additionally opposes Thomas’ nomination by tweeting “no.”

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, tweeted: “Men should not be in women’s sports. Men should not be able to be Woman of the Year. Men are not able to get pregnant. If those three statements are too hard for you to say definitively, re-evaluate your life.”

Others, nevertheless, defended Thomas.

“Lia Thomas won the national championship in the 500M. There is nothing even remotely strange about her being nominated by Penn for NCAA Woman of the Year. It would in fact be absurd and problematic if they had not nominated her,” tweeted creator Nathan Kalman-Lamb.

Kalman-Lamb added: “The choice of ‘women’s rights’ advocates to ally with anti-choice misogynist bigots on the question of ‘fairness’ in sport at the precise moment when those bigots are waging a very material war on women’s bodies will never stop being wild to me.”

Fallon Fox, a retired combined martial artist, tweeted: “Much deserved for her athletic achievements and influential leadership as a woman who happens to be trans.”

Megan McArdle, an opinion author for The Washington Post wrote: “All the people freaking out about UPenn nominating Lia Thomas for NCAA “Woman of the Year”: only two Ivy Leaguers even made an A final at NCAA women’s swimming and diving: Thomas, and Yale’s Iszac Henig, a trans man. Of course they nominated her.”

Thomas’ Wins Fueled Debate Over Trans Athletes

As Thomas rose to prominence on account of her victories all through the spring, the talk about transgender inclusion in sports activities started to see some coverage adjustments.

Last month, FINA, swimming’s worldwide governing physique, introduced that transgender girls who transitioned after the age of 12 years outdated wouldn’t be allowed to compete in girls’s races—primarily banning most transgender girls from competing.

Meanwhile, a number of states, have additionally handed legal guidelines that ban transgender girls from taking part on girls’s sports activities groups. Supporters of those legal guidelines argue they guarantee equity in girls’s sports activities, however many critics have criticized lawmakers for concentrating on transgender girls, a gaggle already weak to stigma and violence.

Newsweek reached out to the University of Pennsylvania for remark.

Updated 07/16/2022 4:08 p.m. ET: This story was up to date with further data.

Updated 07/17/2022 5:26 p.m. ET: This story was up to date with further data.

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