A veteran USA swimming official has announced her resignation in protest over the University of Pennsylvania’s allowance of a trans-identifying biological male to compete on the school’s women’s swim team.
Cynthia Millen, who has been officiating swimming for 30 years, stepped down on Dec. 17, writing in her resignation letter, “Everything fair about swimming is being destroyed.”
The swimmer at the center of the controversy is a 22-year-old known as Lia Thomas—formerly Will Thomas. He previously competed on the University of Pennsylvania men’s swim team for three years before “transitioning” to a female. Thomas’ last known men’s event was Nov. 16, 2019, and he shared in a Dec. 9 interview with SwimSwam that he has been on hormone treatments for nearly two and a half years.
Thomas became eligible to compete in women’s collegiate events after taking one year of testosterone suppressants, according to NCAA rules.
But Millen, and many others, argue it’s not enough to ensure fair competition.
“He is a biological male who is competing against women,” Millen said, “and no matter how much testosterone suppression drugs he takes, he will always be a biological male and have the advantage.
“ … Boys will always have larger lung capacity, larger hearts, greater circulation, a bigger skeleton and less fat,” she added.
Thomas has broken several University of Pennsylvania records this season by wide margins. In fact, in one 1650-meter freestyle race, the second-place finisher was approximately 38 seconds behind Thomas.
“As far as sports are concerned, one’s biology, not one’s gender identity, is all that matters,” wrote Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio host and creator of PragerU, in an article for The Daily Signal.
“If Thomas or any other biological male is allowed to compete against biological women, women’s sports are rendered pointless and therefore unnecessary. The entire reason women’s sports exist is to enable women to compete only against other women—because males have innate physical advantages in virtually every sport.”