Lia Thomas' former teammate, slams University of Pennsylvania

‘Is there something wrong with me for thinking this is wrong?’ Teammate of Lia Thomas says girls hid in the bathroom stalls while she changed to AVOID her and that University of Pennsylvania tried to silence criticism

  • One of Lia Thomas’ former teammates has come forward to speak about what it was like to be on the female swim team at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Paula Scanlan said that any dissent to the biological male being on the team was ‘shut down’ 
  • She also said that team members would hide in the bathroom stalls to avoid Thomas while changing 

In a new interview with the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, Paula Scanlan accused the University of Pennsylvania of wanting student athletes to ‘be quiet and they did it in a very effective way.’ 

‘They continued to tell us that our opinions were wrong and if we had an issue about it, we were the problem and it’s frightening and you’re future job is on the line,’ Scanlan said in her interview. She also said that swimmers would hide in bathroom stalls to avoid changing in front of Thomas. 

‘Is there something wrong with me for thinking this is wrong?… The university wanted us to be quiet and they did it in a very effective way. There was something going on in this athletic department that wanted to keep us quiet. This was getting scary,’ Scanlan added. 

Last year, Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title at the Ivy League Penn. Thomas had previously competed on the male team. She began transitioning in 2019 and joined the female team in 2021. 

Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan is lifting the lid on what it was like to share a locker room with Lia Thomas 

Paula Scanlan is a 2022 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she studied engineering has reached out to the University of Pennsylvania for comment on Scanlan’s allegations.  

The former swimmer went to to accuse school administrators of convincing those who spoke out of being told that ‘they were the issue.’ 

Scanlan is joining former University of Kentucky swimming star Riley Gaines, who recently made news for supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid, in coming forward against the presence of biological males in female sports. 

In 2022, Scanlan appeared anonymously in Walsh’s documentary What is a Woman? 

She echoed similar sentiments put forward by Gaines saying in her interview: ‘This is about fighting for women and girls across the country?’  

Scanlan further accused Penn officials of telling swimmers that they ‘would regret’ speaking to the media about Thomas.  

‘We had a team meeting led by the leader of the men’s team in 2019 about how Will Thomas would be joining the women’s team. 

‘I felt shocked and a little uncomfortable, but everyone around me looked excited for someone in the men’s team to be ‘living their true self,” Scanlan said. 

‘I can’t speak for everyone. But I think it was a lot of shock, a lot of uncomfortable smiling. But that’s just my interpretation,’ she continued. 

Scanlan said that the team were told that Thomas was joining the team in a meeting where she was present. Scanlan admitted that she never had to compete against Thomas. 

‘They also told us Lia swimming with us is non-negotiable and provided us with counselling services to ‘help us be okay’ with it. It’s incredibly startling,’ Scanlan said. 

During the interview, Walsh accused Penn officials of engaging in ‘psychological manipulation.’ 

‘The most disturbing thing that revealed is the psychological manipulation from the school that made the real girls on the team question their own common sense and judgment,’ Walsh said.  

During the interview, Matt Walsh accused Penn officials of engaging in ‘psychological manipulation’

Last year, Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title at the Ivy League Penn

According to her profile on the University of Pennsylvania’s website, Scanlan is a native of affluent Greenwich, Connecticut. Her parents and brother are all University of Pennsylvania graduates. 

Her father, Brian Scanlan, is described as a USA Swimming Official, in an online bio.  

‘Something that has shocked me is the volume of international messages I have received. The world looks to America to do the right and thing and now more than ever it is important as Americans we stand up for the truth. The whole world depends on us to do so,’ Scanlan tweeted after the Walsh interview was released.

‘As a Taiwanese citizen as well as a US citizen. I’m able to see first hand the impact the decisions we make in America have on the world. Americans we need to step up and do the right thing,’ she added.  

Transgender athletes whose biological sex assigned at birth was male would be barred from competing on girls or women’s sports teams at federally supported schools and colleges under legislation pushed through in late April by House Republicans.

The bill approved by a 219-203 party-line vote is unlikely to advance further because the Democratic-led Senate will not support it and the White House said President Joe Biden would veto it.

Supporters said the legislation, which would put violators at risk of losing taxpayer dollars, is necessary to ensure competitive fairness. 

They framed the vote as supporting female athletes disadvantaged by having to compete against those whose gender identify does not match their sex assigned at birth.

Scanlan has echoed many of the statements raised by Riley Gaines, pictured here, who was defeated in a race by Lia Thomas in 2022 

Opponents criticized the bill as ostracizing an already vulnerable group merely for political gain. 

The House action comes as at least 20 other states have imposed similar limits on trans athletes at the K-12 or collegiate level.

The bill would amend landmark civil rights legislation, known as Title IX, passed more than 50 years ago. 

It would prohibit recipients of federal money from permitting a person ‘whose sex is male’ to participate in programs designated for women or girls. The bill defines sex as ‘based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.’

The sponsor, Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., highlighted the case of Emma Weyant, a resident of his district and a 2020 member of the U.S. Olympic swimming team who finished second in the NCAA women’s 500-yeard freestyle championship last year. 

She was defeated by Lia Thomas, who had competed for three years on the University of Pennsylvania men’s swimming team before joining the women’s team.

‘The integrity of women’s sports must be protected,’ Steube said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said it was a ‘great day for America, a great day for girls and women and for fairness in sports.’

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