By Jonathon Van Maren
Not so very long ago, the idea that girls could be forced by the authorities to see male genitalia in their locker rooms would have seemed delusional — the purview of conspiracy theorists promoting moral panic. These days, it has become the law of the land with the support of people who insist that they are feminist.
The stories of girls uncomfortable in their own locker rooms and bathrooms over the past several years, as institutions move to accommodate people identifying as “transgender” at the expense of females who are now expected to accept naked males in their spaces without a whisper for fear of being accused of bigotry, have been infuriating and more than a little heartbreaking.
For example, another member of the University of Pennsylvania’s swim team is speaking out, telling the Daily Mail that some of the female swimmers are profoundly uncomfortable with the male swimmer calling himself Lia Thomas and his presence in their locker room. Thomas spent three years on the men’s swim team, claimed to “transition” to a woman recently, and has been breaking women’s records and cleaning house at competitions ever since.
The question of fairness has been much discussed. The question of what happens when a male swimmer claiming to be female strips off in the locker room is one that most consider too delicate or offensive to mention. It is, unfortunately, a reality for many female swimmers now. Here’s how the New York Post put it:
Thomas … has created an uneasy environment in the locker room, as she still retains her biologically male genitalia — which are sometimes exposed — and is attracted to women, one teammate told the Daily Mail in an interview.
Two things about this excerpt. First — and I apologize to my regular readers, who are surely sick of me relentlessly pointing this out — the fact that even the New York Post insists on referring to this man by female pronouns and referring to his penis as “biologically male genitalia” is a sign of how much ground we’ve lost. This sort of cant must be purged from our language if we are going to have an honest discussion about what is really going on here.
Secondly, this man calling himself a woman also is, apparently, a “lesbian” still in possession of all of his male sex organ. Meaning that he has managed to score himself a spot in the locker rooms, where community leaders and politicians and sports coaches and university officials all insist he has every right to expose himself and strip off next to the girls. And if they’re uncomfortable with the “girl penis,” they should get re-educated to rid themselves of transphobia.
As the anonymous swimmer told the Mail: “It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women.” Thomas, in fact, still dates women. Multiple girls have asked the coaches to get Thomas to change elsewhere. “Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple times,” she said. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”
“It’s really upsetting because Lia doesn’t seem to care how it makes anyone else feel. The 35 of us are just supposed to accept being uncomfortable in our own space and locker room for, like, the feelings of one. The school was so focused on making sure Lia was okay, and doing everything they possibly could do for her, that they didn’t even think about the rest of us.”