Judge’s Ruling on Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas, Decides Her Olympic Fate

Lia Thomas loses her legal battle before the Olympics, banning her from participating in Paris. 

Lia Thomas Ruled Ineligible

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US Olympic hopeful Lia Thomas is no longer eligible to participate in the upcoming Paris games after losing a legal case against World Aquatics. 

The Legal Challenge

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Lia Thomas, the first transgender athlete to ever win a NCAA title, was in arbitration with World Aquatics over her eligibility to participate in the women’s swim competition. 

New Eligibility Rules

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World Aquatics introduced a new rule in 2022 that stated anyone who has experienced “any part of male puberty” is barred from the female category. 

Thomas’s Legal Argument

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Challenging the notion, Thomas said that this rule should be declared “invalid and unlawful” in the eyes of the laws. 

The Court’s Decision

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The court found that Thomas is “simply not entitled to engage with eligibility to compete in WA competitions” since she is no longer considered a member of USA swimming. 

World Aquatic’s Statement

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World Aquatics agrees with the outcome, and called it “a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sports”. 

Committed to “Equal Opportunities”

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WA said, “World Aquatics is dedicated to fostering an environment that promotes fairness, respect, and equal opportunities for athletes of all genders and we reaffirm this pledge”. 

The Background

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The new rules were created in response to Thomas beating the Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant in the NCAA women’s 500 yard freestyle in 2022.

The Scientific Documentation

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The document used in the arbitration said that transgender male to female athletes have an advantage over the female athletes, specifically in endurance, power, speed, strength, and lung power. 

Further Findings

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It included scientific evidence that these advantages are from experiencing male puberty, regardless of the lower testosterone levels post transition. 

The Focus on Thomas

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World Aquatics was prepared to support their decision across the board, but this specific arbitration was only focused on if Thomas would be allowed to participate in the Olympics if she is not recognized as a member of USA swimming. 

No Legal Standing

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On Wednesday June 15th, the court decided that Thomas did not have legal standing to sue World Aquatics policy on transgender athletes. 

The Detailed Ruling

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The court said, “The panel concludes that since the Athlete is not entitled to participate in ‘Elite Event’ within the meaning of USA Swimming Policy, let alone to compete in a WA competition, which occurs upon registration with WA prior to a competition or upon setting a performance which leads to a request for registration as WA world record, she is simply not entitled to engage with eligibility to compete in WA competitions”.

Thomas’s Non-Applicability

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Continuing, “The policy and the operational requirements are simply not triggered by her current status”. 

World Aquatic’s Response

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In response, World Aquatics has said that they are not pursuing this case to be prejudiced, and have promised to make changes to further their inclusive practices. 

New Category for Transgender Athletes

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They announced their plan to create a new “open” category in swimming for transgender athletes last October. 

Over Before It Started

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Unfortunately, it was canceled before the Berlin World Cup due to lack of entries. 

The post Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Loses Legal Battle and Sinks Olympic Dreams first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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