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Former UPenn Swimmer Speaks of How Lia Thomas in the Locker Room Affected Her as a Victim of Sexual Assault

Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan spoke out against the school’s decision to allow the male-born Lia Thomas to use the women’s locker rooms and how it affected her as a victim of a sexual assault.

Scanlan appeared before the House Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday during the committee’s discussion of gender-affirming care for minors and spoke about how the school completely ignored the concerns that many of the women on the swim team expressed about Thomas, who was still fully endowed with his male genitalia as he used the women’s locker rooms, Fox News reported.

Scanlan, who participated in UPenn’s women’s swim team in the 2018-19 and 2021-22 school years, told the committee that the school dismissed the women’s concerns and said that Lia Thomas’ participation was “non-negotiable.”

Scanlan also pointed out that Thomas went from a nobody, untalented male swimmer at UPenn to suddenly being a champion when he claimed to have “transitioned” to a female.

“Once the season began, Thomas was leading the country in multiple events, while only placing in the top 500 in those events on the men’s team. Thomas later became an NCAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle — the first NCAA champion in our women’s team history program. While many of you already know this, what you do not know is the experience of the women on the University of Pennsylvania swim team,” Scanlan said

“My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a 6-foot-4 tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia 18 times per week,” Scanlon added. “Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls, and others used the family bathroom to avoid this. When we tried to voice our concerns to the athletic department, we were told that Lia’s swimming and being in our locker room was a non-negotiable, and we were offered psychological services to attempt to re-educate us to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male.”

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas accepts the winning trophy for the 500 Freestyle finals as second place finisher Emma Weyant and third...

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas accepts the winning trophy for the 500 Freestyle finals as second place finisher Emma Weyant and third place finisher Erica Sullivan watch during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17th, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta Georgia. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The former swimmer added that the feelings of the girls on the team did not matter to the school. Indeed, the school was so excited to have Thomas on the women’s team that officials even absurdly nominated him as the school’s “Woman of the Year” entry.

“To sum up the university’s response, we the women were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform, to move over and shut up. Our feelings didn’t matter,” she said.

Scanlan went on to blast the current trend from the cancel culture left that is turning out to “erase women and our equal opportunities” and clamping down on women’s free speech.

Scanlan also pointed out that she is a victim of sexual assault, and having Thomas constantly parading around in the nude in the locker rooms was an unwelcome sight.

“I was sexually assaulted on June 3rd of 2016. I was only 16 years old,” Scanlan told the committee. “I was able to forgive my attacker but violence against women still exists. Let us not forget the viral #MeToo movement that empowered female victims to speak up. It casts a spotlight on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, including in scholarly and educational institutions.”

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