Former Teammate of Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Speaks Out


A college student spoke out publicly about her experience of being on the same team as transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.

Paula Scanlan, who was on the women’s swimming and diving roster at the University of Pennsylvania, sat down with the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, who then posted the in-depth conversation on Twitter.

“A teammate of Lia Thomas appeared in ‘What Is A Woman?’ anonymously. A few days ago she came to us and said she is ready to come out publicly and tell her story,” Walsh wrote in the caption of the viral video.

During the discussion, Scanlan spoke about her decision to join former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who personally competed against Thomas, in “fighting for women and girls across the country.”

During her sophomore year in college in the fall of 2019, Scanlan said she was told in a team meeting Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas, would be joining the women’s team the following season.

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After the announcement, Scanlan admitted she was “shocked” and “a little uncomfortable.” However, she said everyone else seemed “happy” and “excited” that Thomas, a biological male, would be living his “true self.”

Scanlan said the university told female athletes that having a male on their team was “non-negotiable.”

Before this experience, Scanlan said she had heard about male athletes competing against women in other colleges, but never thought it would become her “reality.”

“I just didn’t think it was an issue,” she added.

She described Thomas as “very quiet” and “definitely not someone I would expect to be part of such a public scandal.”

Thomas began hormone replacement therapy in 2019 and joined the women’s team in 2021.

She noticed things changed in Thomas’ personality once Will transitioned into Lia as Thomas became “more talkative” and “more vocal.”

Once Thomas joined the women’s swimming team, Thomas was given a locker inside the women’s locker room. Scanlan said hearing the voice of a man in the locker room startled her.

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She also would intentionally avoid Thomas as she was changing inside the women’s locker room, making sure she changed “as fast as possible.”

Following a meeting with the university about Thomas joining the team, Scanlan said she felt “silenced” and was “petrified.”

“The university wanted us to be quiet and they did it in a very effective way,” she said.

Scanlan shared one of the reasons she felt compelled to talk about the injustice by institutions, such as the Ivy League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was their refusal to address the inequality before each swimming meet.

“These institutions failed us and I think somebody needs to do something about it,” she stated.

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