Lia Thomas: Caitlyn Jenner slammed for suggesting transgender swimmer 'lacks integrity'

Caitlyn Jenner has been criticised by Mermaids after suggesting that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas needs more integrity

Caitlyn Jenner has been criticised by Mermaids after suggesting that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas needs more integrity.

Thomas, who began to transition in May 2019, represented the University of Pennsylvania in a multiple races last year, setting a number of records for the institution.

She has also competed this month, triumphing in 100m and 200m races against Harvard University.

The 22-year-old meets the eligibility standards set by the NCAA for women’s swimming events, and has been backed by equal rights activists, the Ivy League, and the University of Pennsylvania, but this has not stopped her from becoming the subject of toxic criticism.

Jenner, who came out as a transgender woman in 2015, is among the sporting figures to speak out against Thomas.

“I’m a common sense person,” she told GB News. “Obviously in the case of Lia Thomas it’s not working.

“She’s beating the women by two laps – only three years ago she was on the men’s team. I think to be honest with you they got to change the rules.

“We cannot have biological boys competing against women. It’s bad for the trans community.”

Caitlyn Jenner has been critical of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas

The 72-year-old Jenner continued: “When you do transition and you do go through this, you have to take responsibility and you have to have integrity. I don’t know why she’s doing this.

“I respect her right 100% to live her life authentically but I don’t think she’s being responsible with this.

“We need to take a strong stance with something like this. There’s so few trans athletes and it’s affecting all of women’s sports and it’s just not fair.

“I feel like I’m on the right side. When you have this woke world that we’re living in right now no matter what you do they’re going to come after you. I stand on my position when it comes to trans athletes.”

Jenner, who earned a gold medal in decathlon at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, has been criticised for her words by Mermaids, who support transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families.

“Caitlyn Jenner has, again, used her platform of privilege against the trans community,” said Verity, a trans inclusion in sports youth worker at Mermaids, to Metro.co.uk.

“In fact, Lia has won some races and set records, but she has also had her times beaten by much younger athletes and cis female swimmers.

“Trans people are allowed to be good at sport, just because you’re trans does not make you superhuman. You must train, have the right coaches, nutrition, training programmes, facilities, funding and most of all, skill within the sport.

“Additionally, people naturally gravitate towards sports that are right for them.

“We celebrate cis athletes like Michael Phelps for the way his body recovers and his build being ideal for the sport – but no one calls him out for that, because he’s not trans.”

Following the backlash against Thomas’s participation, the NCAA met last week and announced a number of changes to its regulations on transgender athletes.

The new policy, effective immediately, is in alignment with recent regulation changes from the International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Under the NCAA’s former policy, transgender athletes were allowed to compete in women’s events if they had undergone a year of hormone-suppression therapy.

The new policy means they have to follow the rules of the national and international governing bodies, many of which require a certain testosterone level.

In Thomas’s case, neither USA Swimming or the International Swimming Federation have a clear policy on transgender athletes, meaning it is not yet known whether she will be able to continue to compete for the University of Pennsylvania.

Chris Mosier, a trans advocate and duathlete, called the new policy “ridiculously complex” on Twitter, while Anne Lieberman, director of policy for Athlete Ally, said it was “very alarming” that the policy was changed without due consultation.

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