University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is reportedly creating a “toxic environment” for the female swim team and even goes as far as to compare herself to Jackie Robinson.
Believing herself some kind of trendsetter, Thomas is entitled, says a teammate who discussed the situation with the Washington Examiner anonymously.
“She compares herself to Jackie Robinson. She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports,” claimed the teammate.
Worse, Thomas refused the opportunity to discuss her presence on the team with her teammates and opted to laugh at and mock the situation instead. Though she describes Thomas as “quiet” and “inverted,” those traits reportedly don’t make her any easier to be around.
“I try not to be around her because the whole situation makes me so mad,” said the swimmer. “I don’t think Lia is a bad person. She’s very quiet and kind of introverted … It’s just really hard for me to respect her at all because of what she’s doing to my team and what she’s doing to women in general and not caring.”
“She laughs about it and mocks the situation,” the teammate continued. “Instead of caring or showing that she cares about what she’s doing or what she’s doing to her teammates, she’s not sympathetic or empathetic at all. Lia never addressed our team. She never asked if it was OK. She never asked how we felt. She never tried to explain how she feels. She never has said anything to us as a group. She never addressed anything.”
In fact, the swimmer says, it’s almost like Thomas is enjoying the negative attention, making cocky comments and defying school-instituted rules specifically designed to make her life easier while on a training trip.
“All she does is make comments to people like, ‘At least I’m still No. 1 in the country,’ and those kinds of cocky things. She doesn’t care how all this is affecting us and how this is affecting our relationship to swimming. She doesn’t care, and it makes it really hard to like her.”
“On our last training trip, we were told not to wear Penn gear on our trip to Florida, on the off chance that we would get harassed or anything,” she explained. “So, everyone went out of their way — now, about 75% of our athletic wardrobe is Penn — we went out of our way to not pack any Penn stuff. Except Lia. Every single day at the airport and at the gym, Lia made sure to wear a big Penn shirt with ‘Penn Swim and Dive’ on it. And she was the only one. We weren’t allowed to wear it because of her, and she did it every day.”
While the rest of the team “went out of our way for her,” Thomas decided to do it “just to make a point,” disregarding her teammates and their feelings yet again. This further frustrated the anonymous swimmer, who felt like the entire team has to respect Thomas’ feelings while their own are callously ignored.
“I can’t wear my own school attire that I’m supposed to be representing, but she’s going to go out of her way to do it?” the swimmer lamented. “It makes it really hard to like her when she does stuff like that and she makes the comments she makes. We’re supposed to respect how she feels, but she doesn’t respect her teammates at all.”
The school has not done anything to defend the swim team, attempt to assuage their concerns or field their questions. In fact, the school has reportedly told the team to watch what they say about the situation so they don’t “jeopardize their future.” It certainly seems as though they are frightened of the possible backlash that would come with criticizing Thomas.
“We were told, ‘You guys can say whatever you want, but we don’t want you to ruin your future. So, we will help you, whatever you want to say. It’s been super draining and frustrating,” Thomas’ teammate admits, “because no one seems to care about the actual women.”
“Maybe Monday Lia should go into a black neighborhood and say this and see how well that works out,” former BPR president Jack Furnari responded on Twitter. Test those waters, Lia.
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