A fed-up teammate of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has alleged that the University of Pennsylvania silenced the star athlete’s critics and brushed aside their concerns — as she admitted that winning now “feels tainted.”
“There’s a lot of things you couldn’t talk about that were very concerning, like a locker room situation,” the teammate claims in a clip of a new documentary set to be aired this week.
“If you even brought up concerns about it, you were [deemed] transphobic,” the athlete, who spoke on condition of anonymity, continues.
Conservative podcaster and author Matt Walsh previewed the snippet Tuesday from an interview that is featured in his new documentary about gender politics, “What Is a Woman,” which premieres Wednesday night on The Daily Wire website.
In the minute-long clip shared on Twitter, Thomas’ teammate, whose face and voice have been obscured to make her unrecognizable, suggests that UPenn officials have staunchly supported Thomas because “Lia’s performance helps the University of Pennsylvania swim team.”
“Lia obviously helps us do better [but] the feeling of winning doesn’t feel as good anymore because it feels tainted,” the anonymous student admits in the clip.
“If you even bring up the fact that Lia’s swimming might not be fair, you are immediately shut down as being called a hateful person, or transphobic.”
Walsh tweeted the teaser shortly after Thomas, 22, appeared on “Good Morning America” and argued that trans athletes are “not a threat to women’s sports” — while revealing that she aspires to compete in the Olympics.
In her first TV interview about the controversy surrounding her record-breaking performance, the college senior struck a defiant tone, saying: “I don’t need anybody’s permission to be myself and to do the sport that I love.”
Meanwhile, when asked by Walsh if UPenn coaches ever had a frank discussion about Thomas’ place on the team, the unnamed student recounted how on one occasion, team members met with high-ranking officials from the athletic department, a representative from the LGBTQ center and someone from psychological services.
“They said, ‘Look, we understand there’s an array of emotions, but Lia’s swimming is a non-negotiable. However we can help you make that OK, that’s what we’re here for,’” the teammate recalled.
The Post attempted to reach out to UPenn by phone and email for a comment on these claims, but there was no immediate response.
In her interview with “Good Morning America’s” Juju Chang, Thomas insisted that she did not transition to place higher in competitions by racing against cisgender women.
“Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” she said. “We transition to be happy and authentic and to be ourselves. Transition to get an advantage is not something that factors into our decisions.”
In March, Thomas made history when she became the first trans woman to win an NCAA swimming championship with a season-best time.
Even though Thomas has followed NCAA and Ivy League rules since she began her transition in 2019 by starting hormone replacement therapy, she has become a lightening rod to conservatives claiming that she has an unfair advantage in the water, having gone through puberty as a male.