Michael Phelps’ trans ex-girlfriend, Taylor Lianne Chandler, believes the Olympian had a massive influence on the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimmers who are calling for their trans teammate, Lia Thomas, to be banned from the NCAA championships.
“Governing bodies should not succumb to outside pressure by people that are not trans and don’t have a horse in the race,” she told Radar. “What makes Michael Phelps an authority to even speak to trans women competing in swimming?”
Related: Michael Phelps’ trans ex-girlfriend says she was hurt when he whined about trans athletes on CNN
In an interview with CNN last month, Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medalist, was asked about 22-year-old Thomas.
“I can talk from the standpoint of doping,” Phelps said. “This leads back to organizing committees again, because it has to be a level playing field.”
To be clear, no one has accused Thomas of doping.
“That’s something we all need. Because that’s what sports are,” he continued. “I believe we should all feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin, but I think sports should all be played on an even playing field.”
Chandler then called Phelps “a hypocrite for saying it should be a level playing field” considering that there was never really a level playing field for his competitors due to the genetic advantages he had.
“He is genetically superior with his 6’7″ wingspan, double-jointed ankles and huge feet,” she explained. “His chemical composition allows him to breathe in and fill his lungs and hold his breath longer.”
A few weeks later, 16 members of the University of Pennsylvania Women’s Swimming Team wrote a letter urging the Ivy League to support stricter rules for the participation of transgender athletes – rules that could make it difficult for Thomas to compete.
“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category,” they argued, adding that “if she were eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could have never done as a male athlete.”
Chandler believes the students couldn’t have written this letter without influence.
“The ‘teammates’ of Lia Thomas come out with a scathing letter stating they don’t want to compete against her, but they are not confident enough in their convictions to state their names,” she said.
“I’d be more apt to believe this is their parents behind this, an older generation that was taught to hate anyone outside gender norms.”
She also believes those arguing against Thomas’s participation on the women’s team do not fully understand the science of gender and sex.
“Everyone is so quick to state advantages because someone was born a biological male,” she said. “Biological sex is far from that simple and far more complex. How many people truly know their biological sex beyond what was assigned at birth by a doctor based on genitals?”
“Biology of sex is multifaceted and includes genetic sex, hormonal sex and chromosomal sex,” she continued. “What does that all mean? It means you may be genetically male or female; chromosomally male or female; and hormonally male, female or non-binary, with cells that may or may not hear the male/female/non-binary call.”