Lia Thomas’ nomination by University of Pennsylvania for NCAA ‘Woman of the Year’ award prompts backlash

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Swimmer Lia Thomas was nominated for the NCAA “Woman of the Year” award by the University of Pennsylvania, prompting backlash on social media.

The transgender athlete was nominated for the NCAA award, which recognizes female student-athletes, according to an announcement for the award.

Some on social media were quick to call out the University of Pennsylvania for making the nomination.

Lia Thomas' nomination by University of Pennsylvania for NCAA 'Woman of the Year' award prompts backlash

“It isn’t ‘inclusion’ that leads the Ivy League to pull stunts like this. It’s misogyny – and utter contempt for the truth,” Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” said.

LIA THOMAS NOMINATED BY UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR NCAA ‘WOMAN OF THE YEAR’ AWARD

Lia Thomas' nomination by University of Pennsylvania for NCAA 'Woman of the Year' award prompts backlash

Transgender woman Lia Thomas (L) of the University of Pennsylvania stands on the podium after winning the 500-yard freestyle as other medalists (L-R) Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Forde pose for a photo at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. 
(Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, called the nomination a “direct attack” on female athletes at the University of Pennsylvania.

Former professional tennis player Martina Navratilova asked the NCAA “What is wrong with you?”

After being criticized by a Twitter user for not supporting Lia Thomas, Navratilova pushed back and said “So I should be happy that biological women are pushed aside when it comes to sports?”

Member schools of the NCAA “are encouraged to celebrate their top graduating female student-athletes by nominating them for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award,” according to the announcement.

FINA APPROVES ‘GENDER INCLUSION POLICY’ FOR TRANSGENDER SWIMMERS

Lia Thomas' nomination by University of Pennsylvania for NCAA 'Woman of the Year' award prompts backlash

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after finishing tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta Georgia.
(Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Thomas, a former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, won the 500-yard freestyle event at the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in March.

Thomas’ participation in college women’s swimming has brought on a fierce national debate.

Riley Gaines, a swimmer at the University of Kentucky who tied with Lia Thomas for fifth place at the NCAA swimming championships in March, said that a majority of female athletes aren’t okay with the trajectory of female sports.

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“The majority of us female athletes, or females in general, really, are not okay with this, and they’re not okay with the trajectory of this and how this is going and how it could end up in a few years,” Gaines said on the “Unmuted with Marsha” podcast with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

The nomination comes after FINA, the governing body for international swimming, voted to approve new polices for transgender swimmers.

The newly approved “gender inclusion policy” only permits swimmers who transitioned prior to the age of 12 to participate in women’s events.

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