There's been a debate surrounding transgender athletes recently due to Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, winning this year's NCAA women's swimming championship.
Lia Thomas won the "Ivy 2022 Champion" in swimming - celebrating victory in the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle.
Lia's participation and eventual win sparked controversy and criticism about whether it's "fair" for someone assigned male at birth with a male muscle structure to participate in a swimming category with female-born swimmers.
She currently ranks #44 among US female swimmers and #31 among female college swimmers, which means there are still female swimmers with a faster time than Lia, despite the "advantages" she's being criticized for having.
Lia has built her skills as a swimmer for years as she's been an avid swimmer since age 5, training and setting new records for herself. Unfortunately, her skills and accomplishments as a swimmer have been eclipsed by discussions of her gender.
It's because of that reason why Lia kept her identity a secret because she didn't want to risk losing her swimming career.
CNN reported that she started hormone replacement therapy in May 2019 and came out as trans that fall, yet she still had to compete on the men's team. She said it was awkward and uncomfortable, and her speed suffered as her muscles weakened from hormone therapy.
As a result, her times were even slower than they were after she transitioned, which is what many trans athletes go through. It's not uncommon for trans women to find a slight decrease in performance overall because of hormone therapy.
The NCAA requires that transgender athletes have one year of hormone replacement therapy to be cleared to participate, which Lia did.
Affirm Trans Athletes
There's already a stigma against the trans community, and trans people already have a hard time finding safe spaces.
Trans people enjoy sports just as much as cisgender people. Should they be taken out of sports because of how they identify?
Regarding athletes, they only have a short window to participate in their sport. Many athletes retire before they turn 40 to avoid permanent physical injuries.
For example, fellow swimmer Michael Phelps retired from competitive swimming at the age of 31. It's also not uncommon for professional football players and hockey players to quit before they hit their mid 30's.
As of May 2022, 18 US states have banned or limited the participation of trans athletes in schools.
With this short window for an athlete's career, these sports bans stop their athletic career before it begins and holds them back from playing the sports they love.
With these changing times, discussions need to take place between trans individuals and sport organizers to discuss these concerns and to better understand what would make for a fair competition.
More conversations and research will equal better policies.
If an athlete, whether trans or not, has the skills and is ready to rise to the occasion, they should be able to participate.
To even the playing field, men's and women's sports have always been kept separate, but there are examples of women beating men when challenged based on having superior skills.
For example, Billie Jean King famously beat Bobby Riggs in a 1973 match dubbed "The Battle of the Sexes."
And in 2006, Michaela Hutchison made history by winning the 103-pound title at the 2006 state wrestling championships to become the nation's first girl to win a state high school championship against boys.
Lia Thomas and other transgender women like her should be allowed to swim equally with the gender they identify. Believing her muscle mass to be the problem because she got it before transitioning and not "naturally" from her assigned birth sex does not automatically make her a better swimmer.
Scientifically, there is not an unfair advantage to transgender women, and the argument of "fairness" forgets the mental anguish of not being affirmed.
Let transgender women play sports and be on the team that matches their gender identity.
I can honestly say that I have always been a daddy’s girl. And with Father’s Day approaching, I can’t help but be grateful everyday for the incredible father that I have. I have turned to my dad for advice many times, have always ran to him for comfort and have always known I’ve had him for support when times get tough.
To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I wanted to share with you all some of the amazing life lessons I have gained from my father that I know I will carry on when I have a family of my own.
1. Be Kind To Everyone
Something I learned quickly from my dad is that everyone is struggling and you can never guess what they are going through. Being kind and respectful to everyone is a way to spread love and to show to people that no matter their struggle, you are there for them, always.
2. Memories Are Everything
My dad is all about creating memories, whether that’s going on family vacations, cooking together, watching a good movie, or just spending time with the ones that matter, he has always based his life around memories. I like to believe that the memories he has, is what has helped shape him into who he is, and that’s why creating memories with us, no matter what age is important to him. I can’t begin to describe the amount of times he would wake us up on Easter morning and have us do an egg hunt around the house, or how he would get us Valentine gifts every year just to make sure we didn’t feel left out. Little moments like those are things we will always remember.
3. Value The Time You Have With Family and Friends
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to the realization that our time on this earth is very limited. We don’t have so much time to go see our family when we want, or our friends due to our busy schedules and everyday life. Something my dad has shown me is no matter how busy you are, or tired you are, there is always room to spend time with the people that you love the most. Making time for those people is so important, because our time here is so limited.
4. Don't Take Life Too Seriously
My dad is the goofiest guy I know and he isn’t one to take life too seriously. And now in my adult life, I try to constantly remind myself that life sometimes has to be serious but most of the time, the best moments of life are the ones where you kick back and just enjoy the moment.
Share with us some of your most treasured moments with your father for this upcoming Father's Day!
Since June is Pride Month, we're highlighting some Pride events and programs you can attend throughout the month for 2SLGBTQ+ members and their allies to participate in the Windsor-Essex area.
Express Yourself at the Art Lab -
June 23 - 4 PM - 7 PM
This event is for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and their allies to gather and have fun through expressive art activities! This event offers a space to hang out, meet new people and make connections while fostering inclusion, community belonging, positive relationships and respect for all 2SLGBTQ+ people.
For more info:
EXPRESS YOURSELF at the Art Lab | qlinkwe.ca
Celebrate Pride: Collage workshop with Derrick Carl Biso -
June 26 - 2 PM – 4 PMTo celebrate 2SLGBTQIA+ Pride Month this year, Art Windsor-Essex is partnering with the QLink Windsor-Essex collaborative and local artist Derrick Carl Biso to present an in-person collage-making workshop. Derrick Carl will briefly present the history and culture of collage and share prompts to encourage participants to make their own.
You can find out more and register here:
Art Windsor-Essex (agw.ca)
Advocates, Activists & Allies (Public Allyship Seminar) -
June 29 - 5:00 PM 8:00 PM
This seminar will provide a basic overview of current terminology relating to gender and sexuality. Explore the concept of intersectionality and privilege in relation to allyship.
The seminar will define different types of discrimination in relation to the trans and queer community to assist people in identifying and challenging various types of bigotry and marginalization.
Additionally, they will discuss some of the current political issues facing the trans and queer community, and how they can or should be addressed. Finally, the seminar will examine the difference between "advocacy", "activism", and "allyship", and discuss examples of how to take on each of these roles in one's life and within society.
Click the link below to register:
Advocates, Activists & Allies (Public Allyship Seminar) — Trans Wellness Ontario
QLinks Windsor-Essex Open House -
Jun 30, 4:00 PM – Jul 01, 7:00 PM.
QLink Windsor-Essex invites you to an Open House at the Windsor-Essex Pride Fest office in the Market Square, located at 2109 Ottawa St on the second floor, on Wednesday, Jun 30, from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
Drop-in to learn about the individual and group programming offered through the collaborative and see the space where School's Out and other programs will be offered throughout the Summer.
Meet the facilitators and participate in arts-based activities that demonstrate some of what youth can expect from their programs.
For more info:
Qlink Windsor-Essex Open House | qlinkwe.ca
There are regular programs weekly and biweekly for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Windsor-Essex.
Click the links below for updated program schedules all year round:
Windsor Pride Community programming:
PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE | qlinkwe.ca
Trans Wellness Ontario programming: