BLOG: The facts of ‘Lia’
A few days ago the news reported that “Penn swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s 500 yard freestyle championship.
Normally a college swimmer winning a championship would be major news, until you find out that Lia Thomas was born William Thomas, male, and has now become the first ‘NCAA Transgender Champion in Division 1 Sports’ Of the history.
A reporter said: “She finished the race in 4:33.24, beating Emma Weyant of Virginia by 1.75 seconds. The time fell short of Katie Ledecky’s NCAA record time of 4:24.06.
“Thomas used to compete on Penn’s men’s team before transitioning and competing as a woman for the first time this season. His eligibility has come under intense scrutiny, with critics saying that she had an unfair advantage in the pool after going through male puberty…
“Since joining the women’s team, Thomas has broken two school records and posted the fastest times in the country in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle events. Now she is the NCAA champion.
There’s no shortage of people offering commentary and critique of what’s really going on here. I will add a few facts of life to this conversation, including these:
- Will Thomas, the swimmer among the male competitors, was not an NCAA swimming champion. Now it’s the same individual competing against female athletes, which just goes to show that it’s not fair competition;
- Next, note that the report uses Thomas’ preferred pronouns of “she” and expects the reader to accept this;
- Finally, note the tone of celebration of this development in various news stories, including Sports Illustrated whose cover boasted “‘I Am Lia’: The Trans Swimmer Dividing America Tells Her Story”
Unfortunately, the NCAA pool isn’t the only place this is happening. Maureen Collins wrote an article published by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Here’s what she wrote about four runners facing a similar situation:
“Imagine what it would be like to show up at the starting line of a race, knowing you were going to lose. Think of the discipline it would take to push you to do your best in a race that you know will is rigged against you. It would cost anyone. Four young Connecticut women don’t need to imagine what it would be like. They lived it.
The article mentions, “Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith and Ashley Nicoletti…all talented track and field athletes. They are dedicated competitors who have dedicated countless days, nights and weekends to training, striving to shave fractions of a second off their race times.
“But there were many times when they knew that, despite their talent and hard work, they would never step onto the winning podium. They knew because they would be facing athletes with an unfair advantage.
“For several years, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has allowed male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete in women’s track and field. You don’t need a degree in sports physiology to know that’s unfair. Science and common sense tell us that men are generally bigger, faster and stronger than women – men have greater strength, denser bones, bigger hearts and greater lung capacity than women. women.
“After the CIAC changed its policy to allow male athletes to compete in women’s sports, two boys identifying as transgender won 15 state championship titles held by nine different girls in 2016. Due to the policy allowing these athletes to compete, Selina Soule lost out on the spot to compete in the New England Regionals, a huge opportunity to race in front of college scouts Chelsea Mitchell lost four state championship titles.
“These four girls had every reason to give up. But it’s a testament to their character that they decided to take a stand. They sought help from Alliance Defending Freedom and filed a lawsuit against the CIAC for its unfair policy.
“More than a year ago, on February 12, 2020, Selina, Chelsea, Alanna and Ashley challenged the CIAC policy in federal court, arguing that it violated Title IX.
“Girls like Selina, Chelsea, Alanna and Ashley deserve the same opportunity to excel and pursue their dreams. If boys are allowed to compete in women’s sports, it takes those opportunities away from them – the same opportunities that Title IX has was designed to protect.
There’s a lot at stake here in this cultural moment. There are legal consequences, the very future of men’s and women’s competitive sports, college scholarships and records at stake. In addition, there are fundamental moral issues at the root of life.
I encourage Christians to be prayerful and redemptive in how we discuss these things. Yes, it’s an absurd time to find yourself and oppose any dose of common sense.
So we must stand firm and steadfast in our biblical convictions, even as the world calls us to surrender. At the same time, we must also season our conversation with grace. I advise you to read This article by Ryan Smith of Oklahoma on the subject.
Then I want to encourage you to hear Laura Perry’s story. Laura, also an Oklahoman, lived nearly 10 years in the transgender life before God brought her back to her God-given sexuality. Even if we disagree with what Thomas did, we need to see a person whom God made and for whom Christ died. There is always hope for redemption, even in a case like this.
Only time will tell what will become of Thomas and the swimmers, these four runners, and others like them. In the meantime, this is a key time for the church to stand with compassion for the truth.
As one columnist put it, “George Gilder, in his classic book, men and marriage, from the end (1970s), prophesied that the fruit of androgyny would be the increasing empowerment of women and the emasculation of men.
Beyond what even Gilder could have imagined, we are now witnessing the complete blurring of the boundaries between men and women. In the midst of this moral and sexual chaos, it is up to Christians to oppose this development and remind people of the basic facts of life in a world that God Himself created.