Trans swimmer revives an old debate in elite sports

Published February 16, 2022


A New York Times story about Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete who swims for the University of Pennsylvania and who some have said should be barred or separated from women’s competition, quotes Susan Cahn. In 1928, the Olympic Games introduced its first women’s category for track and field events. In the early days, there was public speculation that some of the athletes were too masculine, and even that men were posing as women in order to win. “Women’s sports was controversial and involved women encroaching on a male domain,” Cahn said. “So the womanhood of women athletes was always questioned when they were really good.”

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