Cynthia Millen resigned after three decades of being a USA swimming official in protest of Lia Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania trans swimmer, who was allowed on the women’s swimming team. Thomas raced as a male in the men’s program for three seasons.
“I told my fellow officials that I can no longer participate in a sport which allows biological men to compete against women,” Millen wrote in her resignation letter. “Everything fair about swimming is being destroyed. If Lia came on my deck as a referee, I would pull the coach aside and say, ‘Lia can swim, but Lia can swim exhibition or a time trial. Lia cannot compete against those women because that’s not fair.’”
She added that Thomas should not be allowed to race against other biological women as this is unjust to biological women. Swimming is a sport in which bodies compete against bodies. “Identities do not compete against identities. And from the very beginning, when you start out as an age grouper, swimmers are divided by sex and by age group,” Millen said in an interview on the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show.
Swimming World reported that Thomas underwent hormone suppression and is in accordance with NCAA bylaws “that allow her to compete as a member of the woman’s team, her performances show she possesses a competitive advantage due to male puberty and years of testosterone production.”
The NCAA regulates college athletics and said its policy “requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports” and “embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”
Read the full release from the NCAA below in 2021
“The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.
The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.
When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.“
Beth Stelzer, an amateur powerlifter and the founder of Save Women’s Sports, emphasized that defending women in athletics is not a partisan nor religious issue. The coalition seeks to preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports. Her website stated that if we allow males to compete in female sports, there “will be men’s sports, there will be co-ed sports, but there will no longer be women’s sports.”
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