Trans sports controversy as Lia Thomas swimming rival 'scarred' and 'terrorised' after sharing locker room

Lia Thomas swimming

Trans swimmer Lia Thomas has sparked outrage by racing against biological women

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 20/09/2023

- 14:12

Updated: 20/09/2023

- 14:49

The 24-year-old has been criticised for racing against females despite being born male

The mother of an Ivy League swimmer who competed against transgender athlete Lia Thomas has claimed her daughter was 'terrorised' and left 'scarred'.

Former All-American tennis player Kim Jones, who is the founder of the International Council on Women's Sports, opposes the idea of trans women being able to compete against biological women.

Jones appeared on Gaines for Girls to discuss Thomas with Riley Gaines, who has also voiced her fury over trans athletes in sports.

And she claims her daughter found sharing a locker room with Thomas was 'scarring' and 'terrorising'.

Trans Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas has received support from within the trans community despite controversial participation


“My daughter dealt with the threat of a man in her locker room for that entire year that Lia Thomas was swimming in the Ivy League," she said.

“That was terrorising.

"The stories from the young woman that had to experience it.

"The idea that she would have to disrobe in front of - a man or that a man could walk in on her =with full rights to the territory while she's changing.

"The lack of dignity and privacy...

“It was scarring. She worried about it for days before going to that first meet and then also again during the Ivy League championships.

"I know that this was felt around the Ivy League because, again, I was speaking with parents from Harvard and Cornell, Princeton, and everyone was panicked about it.

"It was really unsettling and some of the girls had gone so far to complain to the university leadership and they were shut down at every turn.

"Not just at Penn, but at other schools.

"And even disciplined, just for complaining and voicing their opinions.

"The atmosphere was very, I call it, North Korea-esque.

"'You control what I say, you will like what's being done to you or else.'"

Thomas is a controversial part of swimming in America.

Gaines has previously alleged the 24-year-old has been given preferential treatment in the past because of being trans. A sports coach also claims to have lost her job for her views on Thomas, too.

Back in April, meanwhile, Thomas defended her right to compete by saying critics are 'policing women's bodies'.

"They're using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs," said Thomas.

"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.

"You can't do that you can't sort of break down me as a person into little pieces."


Lia Thomas swimming

Trans swimmer Lia Thomas has defended her right to compete against biological women


Thomas added: "At the end of the day, everybody's trying to - under a true feminist - is everybody trying to come together to sort of break down these patriarchal ideals of what a woman is and who can be a woman and sort of open that up to to the very broad range of possibilities that there are."

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