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05th Apr 2022

Joe Rogan accuses trans swimmer Lia Thomas of ‘an assault on women’s sports’

Charlie Herbert

Joe Rogan criticises Lia Thomas

Thomas won one of her races at the NCAA championships last month

Joe Rogan has waded into the trans athlete debate, labelling swimmer Lia Thomas “an assault on women’s sport.”

Last month, transgender swimmer Thomas attracted controversy for competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships. Although many praised Thomas’ participation – including 300 of her fellow competitors – others criticised the decision to allow her to compete in the women’s category.

Rogan says it was “not fair” that Thomas was able to compete and said this could be the “woke straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

“What it is now is an assault on women’s sports,” Rogan added in a recent edition of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

He continued: “That might be the woke straw that breaks society’s camel’s back. People are – women are so frustrated because if you – or parents if your daughter is competing and they’re competing against trans women it’s not fair.

“It’s not fair no matter what anybody says. There’s this nonsense idea of like ‘well there’s outliers’.

“There are outliers and then there’s biological males.

“There’s a reason why we have a distinction between men and women’s sports.”

Rogan recently revealed that he would quit the podcast world if it ever gets to the point where he has to “walk on eggshells.” It comes after the podcast host has faced controversy over claims he spreads covid misinformation, which led Neil Young and other musicians to pull their music from Spotify, which has exclusive rights to the podcast.

He has also been criticised for regularly using the N-word on the podcast.

Swimmer Lia Thomas has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) since 2019 in order to be eligible to compete alongside other women, but critics argue that she has an advantage over her female competitors because she has gone through male puberty.

However, in Thomas’ case there appears to be little evidence to back this up.

Thomas won one of her races, the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships. She came fifth in the 200-yard race and eighth in the 100-yard race.

At the championships, 27 all-time NCAA records were broken. Of these, 18 were broken by Kate Douglass of the University of Virginia, and none were broken by Thomas.

Thomas’ 500-yard time was a full nine seconds slower than multiple Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, who competed in the same event in 2017.

In some previous years, Thomas’ times would have seen her finish third.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis refused to recognise Thomas as the winner of the race, revoking her title and awarding it to the race runner-up instead.

Here in the UK, a similar debate has swirled around trans cyclist Emily Bridges, who was set to compete in her first women’s event last weekend before her participation was blocked by cycling’s world governing body.

Bridges was eligible to compete under British Cycling’s guidelines because of her lowered testosterone levels.

However, she was still registered as a male cyclist with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The governing body intervened, and Bridges will therefore only be able to compete as a woman when her male UCI ID expires.

In a statement, British Cycling said that it believes “transgender and non-binary people should be able to find a home, feel welcome and included, and be celebrated” in the sport, and called for a “coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”

Bridges has been participating in a study at Loughborough University to monitor her change in performance since undergoing hormone therapy (HRT).

In endurance cycling, a female rider’s performances is usually around 10 percent lower than a male rider’s.

Results from the study show that Bridges’ performance has dropped by between 13 and 16 percent since undergoing hormone therapy.

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