Paula Scanlan has expressed her relief at the decision that her former teammate, Lia Thomas, will not be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games. Scanlan believes she deserves an apology for being “forced to undress” with the transgender athlete multiple times a week.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the 25-year-old swimmer would not be permitted to compete in the Olympics after losing her legal battle to overturn the rules barring her involvement. Following the announcement, Scanlan took to social media to demand an apology, writing on Twitter (X): “Okay, but is anyone going to apologize for forcing us to undress with him 18 times a week?”

Thomas first made headlines in March 2022 when she became the first transgender athlete to win the women’s NCAA college swimming title. However, the World Aquatics (WA) soon introduced a rule preventing anyone who had undergone “any part of male puberty” from competing in the female category. They created an “open” category for which transgender athletes would be eligible, but this decision did not sit well with Thomas, who sought to overturn the rules through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Thomas, who swam for Pennsylvania’s men’s team for three seasons before beginning hormone replacement therapy in early 2019, argued that the rules were invalid, unlawful, and discriminatory. However, the CAS panel dismissed Thomas’ request on a “technicality,” stating that she was not entitled to compete in WA competitions such as the Olympics because she was no longer part of US swimming. As a result, Thomas described the decision as “deeply disappointing” in a statement provided by her legal team.

The statement read: “Blanket bans preventing trans women from competing are discriminatory and deprive us of valuable athletic opportunities that are central to our identities.” Thomas also urged trans women to “fight for our dignity and human rights.


Sarah Kate Ellis, president/CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), stated that Thomas deserves a chance to participate in her sport and follow her dreams. Ellis criticized World Aquatics for spreading disinformation about transgender people under the guise of “protecting women,” adding that transgender women are women and should have the opportunity to compete.

In contrast, Scanlan, who swam alongside Thomas at the University of Pennsylvania, welcomed the news and retweeted the New York Post’s story about the decision. Scanlan’s post, which has garnered significant attention, read: “Okay, but is anyone going to apologize for forcing us to undress with him 18 times a week?”

Scanlan has previously spoken out against Thomas’ involvement in women’s sports. Last week, she testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, addressing the issue of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Scanlan, who was a victim of sexual assault in a bathroom at 16, shared that Thomas’ presence in the locker room brought back traumatic memories.

Scanlan argued that women’s physical safety should be prioritized when making decisions about women-only spaces like locker rooms. She recounted feeling uncomfortable and having nightmares about sharing a changing room with Thomas, who triggered controversy after switching to the women’s team in 2021.

Despite the controversy, Thomas defended her place in women’s swimming, stating in an interview with Sports Illustrated: “I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team. I’ve always viewed myself as just a swimmer. It’s what I’ve done for so long; it’s what I love.”

While Thomas’ college career has ended, Scanlan believes the topic remains important as similar instances will arise in the future with amateur and professional sports. Scanlan emphasized the importance of giving girls the same opportunities in sports, stating that discouraging even one girl from competing is a failure.


By AdminNN

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