Many students at the University of Pennsylvania are not happy that a male peer is permitted to dominate the female swim team — but many fear retaliation if they express their opinions on the matter.
“Lia” Thomas — a biological man who used to go by “Will” but now claims transgender identity — is competing on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team. Throughout the current season, Thomas has shattered multiple NCAA and University of Pennsylvania female swim records — sometimes winning races by margins as high as 38 seconds. Anonymous female teammates have told sports outlets they feel discouraged and overshadowed by Thomas.
In exclusive interviews with several University of Pennsylvania students — all of whom requested anonymity for fear of various repercussions — The Daily Wire learned there exists tremendous pressure for dissenting students to mask their opinions about Thomas competing against women.
One finance student told The Daily Wire that the situation is wrong for one reason: “Thomas is not a woman, he is a male. It’s a simple rationale and shouldn’t need to be further explained.” However, she fears reprisal from her classmates.
“Their idea of ‘acceptance’ is to not give you a platform — by shaming or forcing you out if you have views that are too far from their own,” she said. “For a university where we are all supposed to bring ideas and differing viewpoints to grow, the pressure to be silent rings loud and has catastrophic implications.”
The student is “not surprised” that administrators have failed to intervene in favor of the female swimmers. “In fact, I am surprised that they have not praised Thomas and publicly supported him.”
Another student — who majors in neuroscience — likewise told The Daily Wire that “the issue with Thomas swimming against women is basic biology.”
“You don’t need a life science degree to know that testosterone gives a massive advantage for physical strength. Not to mention increased red blood cell counts that provide greater oxygenation during long distance exercises, lower natural body fat percentages, and so on,” he explained. “Biological men are physically advantaged over women by nature.”
“How then can it be fair to allow one to erase the hard work of these women? In the effort to be ‘inclusive’ of transgender people we’ve begun the process of totally excluding women from their opportunity to succeed in athletics.”
The student cannot imagine that “many people would be comfortable objecting” to Thomas swimming as a female. “The perceived risk of social ostracism and even potential blacklisting from the university as well as from potential employers loom large over topics like this.”
Nevertheless, the student is shocked “from a human decency standpoint” that Thomas is swimming as a female.
“From a political perspective, of course they won’t put a stop to Thomas on the team,” he said. “I feel like they want to ensure that there are no negative consequences to making the choice to transition genders and in the process are forcing the weight of those consequences onto the women of the swim team. While this makes sense given the political climate of catering to transgender individuals, it is so morally depraved that I have trouble believing that nobody within the administration has had the decency to stop this.”
A third student — who studies marketing — told The Daily Wire that allowing Thomas to compete alongside females is “unfair to the athletes that vied for a spot on the Penn swim team and to women athletes at competing universities.” However, she similarly described a campus climate with minimal sympathy for her views.
“In my experience, Penn’s campus is a hostile environment to those with dissenting opinions on this issue,” she observed. “Groups on campus are quick to short the discussion and label any opposition as ‘transphobic’ and silence their response. Amidst the fear and hostility, only the loudest, leftist voices get heard, not the most reasonable.”
An economics student told The Daily Wire that he “would hope most people share at least the intuition that there’s something unfair about this — although at this school, I’m doubtful.”
“It’s troubling how one student can get cancelled for holding a controversial belief that immaterially offends people, while other individuals are enabled and empowered to totally undermine the real opportunities and potential of others,” he continued. “I understand the delicacy with which we have to approach issues like this, but real harm is being done to people as the philosophy of sports becomes undone.”
“The real question to ask is who really is being discriminated against?” he commented.
A nursing student told The Daily Wire that “Thomas’ presence on the female team is an injustice to the other women who work so hard to compete at such a high level.”
In the past year, however, “Penn’s political environment has shown nothing but hostility toward those who question their liberal, elitist agenda. With that in mind, I would not feel particularly comfortable publicly voicing my view on this issue.”
“I am not surprised at all that Penn’s administration has allowed this to continue given their clear desire to force their radical agenda on as many people as possible,” she added.
The Daily Wire reached out to the University of Pennsylvania for comment; a response has not been received in time for publication.