Martina Navratilova slams trans swimmer Lia Thomas for feminists jab

Martina Navratilova slams trans swimmer Lia Thomas for feminists jab

April 28, 2023

Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova slams trans swimmer Lia Thomas for saying some use feminism to ‘push transphobic beliefs’: ‘Stop explaining feminism to feminists’

  • Trans swimmer Lia Thomas appeared on the ‘Dear Schuyler’ podcast on Monday 
  • She criticized the ‘half support’ she received from her teammates calling them ‘fake feminists’   
  • Tennis legend Martina Navratilova clapped back on Wednesday in a tweet telling her, in part: ‘Lia, it’s not fair. We shouldn’t have to explain to you over and over’ 

Wimbledon Tennis champion Martina Navratilova slammed Lia Thomas after the transgender swimmer accused her former teammates of supporting her transition – but not her ability to compete as a woman. 

Thomas, who became the first transgender athlete to win a division one NCAA national championship last year, called out her fellow University of Pennsylvania swimmers for ‘half support’ that was hidden behind the idea of feminism to ‘push transphobic beliefs.’

She made the accusation on the ‘Dear Schuyler’ podcast hosted by Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender NCAA swimmer.

Thomas’ statements prompted Navratilova, 66, to tweet in response, ‘stop explaining feminism to feminists.’ 

‘Lia- it’s not fair. We shouldn’t have to explain it to you over and over.’

Thomas is pictured with the host Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender NCAA swimmer, during Monday’s podcast, ‘Dear Schuyler’ 

Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova, 66, has taken aim at transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for calling out her teammates for using feminism to support transphobic beliefs 

The former collegiate swimmer was on the University of Pennsylvania men’s team, but joined the women’s team after her transiton, said she believed that rather than be excluded from the sports, trans women should be ‘celebrated’ for their accomplishments

Thomas said about her naysayers, ‘they’re like, ‘We respect Lia as a woman, as a trans woman, whatever, we respect her identity, we just don’t think it’s fair.’

The former collegiate swimmer, who swam on Penn’s men’s team, but joined the women’s team after her transition, said she believed that rather than be excluded from sports, trans women should be ‘celebrated’ for their accomplishments.

On the podcast, Thomas told Bailar she is ‘proud’ of her accomplishments and claimed that transgender athletes are ‘almost not allowed to celebrate our accomplishments.’

‘I felt I didn’t want to invite any more negativity,’ she said of her decision to not speak out about her victory in the past, ‘but I think trans women should be celebrated.’

Thomas then went on to say that critics of transgender athletes in sports are ‘policing women’s bodies,’ comparing the push to exclude transgender female athletes from sports to historic efforts to exclude black women from competing in women’s sports.

‘They’re using the guise of feminism to sort of push transphobic beliefs,’ she said.

‘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.’

Bailar agreed with the controversial athlete, saying, ‘they’re coming from…this whole protect “protect women’s sports,” [which] has become a very big movement and that they do it under the guise of feminism. “Oh, we’re just feminists, we’re just fighting for women,” and whenever anybody says that I’m always [like]: ‘Okay, you’re fighting for women by excluding women so that’s not fighting for women.’

He continued to say that feminism has become ‘twisted’ and ‘turned into excluding women’ and reduced them to ‘reproductive capacity.’

The nine-time Wimbledon champion and longtime advocate in the gay community has been vocal about her stance against transgender women competing against biological women in sports. 

In March, she applauded World Athletics for adopting a policy to exclude transgender female athletes from women’s competitions, calling it a ‘step in the right direction.’

During the same month, Navratilova also announced her cancer-free status after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and throat cancer in November 2022.

She announced the news during an emotional interview with Piers Morgan, saying she feared she ‘wouldn’t see next Christmas’ and that beating the disease was the ‘hardest thing ever’.

Thomas and Bailar have been longtime friends. Bailar was recruited for the women’s team at Harvard and after transitioning became a member of the men’s team, as per The Harvard Gazette 

The 26-year-old host, whose full name Schuyler Miwon Hong Bailar, was recruited for the women’s team at Harvard and after transitioning became a member of the men’s team, The Harvard Gazette. 

He was the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer and publicly documented NCAA D1 transgender man to compete as a man in any sport.

He introduced Thomas as a longtime friend. 

‘For cisgender people, many have expressed a desire to be inclusive, but cannot wrap their heads around the ‘advantage’ trans women may have in any given sport,’ Schuyler said. ‘

‘Meanwhile, trans folks want to have access to sports in the same way cis men and women do, without having to jump through hoops or feel like a pariah amongst teammates.’

‘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,’ Thomas said.

In his closing, Bailar argued that there are inherently differences between athletes — using Michael Phelps and Caster Semeny as examples.

‘I know most people will just go straight for the “biological advantage” argument, saying that some alleged biological advantage makes it unfair for trans women to compete with other women,’ he began.

‘But let’s consider a few points: Biological diversity exists everywhere in sport, in every demographic of people and every demographic of women. That’s kind of what sports are based on,’ he argued. ‘I mean, if everybody was exactly the same, there would be no competition.’

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas speaks to her coach after winning the 500 meter freestyle during a meet with Harvard on Jan. 22, 2022, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass

‘Sports depends on the fact that bodies are different and they perform differently.’

Bailar went on to argue that male athletes do not face the same level of criticism when their body types give them an advantage at their sport.

‘When those differences exist in the men’s category, most people don’t care. In fact, they praise those differences,’ he said.

‘Let’s look at Michael Phelps – winningest Olympian of all time. You probably know who he is. He’s super tall. He’s got this really long torso and he’s got a really wide wingspan – all specifically advantages in swimming. He also produces half the levels of lactic acid than the average athlete. Not the average person, the average athlete. And all of these things give him a massive biological advantage.

‘But his biological differences are celebrated. When they look at him, they say, “Wow, what an amazing biological anomaly.”

‘Does he have biological advantages? Absolutely. But do people say that is grounds for disqualification? “Oh, Michael Phelps is too tall” or “wingspan is too long” or “his lactic acid is too low, therefore we should disqualify him.” No, people don’t do that. They let him have his body as it is.’

‘On the flip side, let’s look at the women’s category. Maybe Caster Semenya – as black, queer, cisgender (so not transgender woman) who is also intersex,’ Bailar said.

‘She is an Olympic champion. But when she won people accused her of being too masculine and they demanded that her body was examined.

When they found she was intersex, they instated rules that made it so that she had to change her testosterone in order to compete. The most recent rules demand that she undergoes six months of hormone suppression before she’s allowed to compete internationally.

‘Michael Phelps is allowed to keep his body as it is and in fact he’s celebrated for all of his biological advantages. But Caster Semenya and other women like her are excluded.

‘This extends to transgender women, too. When a trans woman is different, immediately it’s called unfair. But the reality is there are so many women who might be “too tall” or “too strong” or “too fast,” and so this debate is actually not about fairness.

‘The attempt to exclude transgender women means you actually have to know which ones are trans and that endeavor requires that you police the entire women’s category, which means you police all women. 

‘The legal forces of policing women’s bodies in sport will destroy the women’s category. Not the inclusion of transgender women.’

Source: Read Full Article