WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — A sexual assault survivor and female athlete who swam on the same team as gender-confused male “Lia” Thomas testified before the U.S. Congress that she and fellow female swimmers were forced to change in front of the male athlete 18 times per week while the university tried to ‘re-educate’ the women in an attempt to lower inhibitions about sharing their locker room with and undressing in front of a man.
In a congressional hearing on the issues surrounding transgender ideology, Paula Scanlan told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, July 27, about her experience and that of her colleagues as members of the University of Pennsylvania swim team.
Detailing a situation that could result in criminal charges of serial sexual abuse, Scanlan told the Judiciary Committee, “My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a six-feet, four-inch-tall biological man fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week. Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls and others used the family bathroom to avoid this.”
When the female athletes of the swim team voiced objections to the athletic department, the school attempted to “re-educate” the women to lower their inhibitions against undressing in front of a biological male.
“When we tried to voice our concern to the athletic department, we were told that Lia swimming and being in our locker room was non-negotiable and we were offered psychological services to attempt to re-educate us to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male,” Scanlan testified.
“To sum up the university’s response: We, the women, were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform — to move over and shut up. Our feelings didn’t matter. The university was gaslighting and fear-mongering women to validate the feelings and identity of a male.”
When Scanlan raised her voice in the university’s student-run newspaper, her article was retracted within a few hours of publication in another move to “silence” dissent to the school’s new policy of allowing a biological male to compete in women’s sports and use their locker room. The article was deemed “too offensive to be written and published.”
“As an attempt to voice my concerns about the situation we were forced into — revealing the unfair and unjust treatment — I wrote an Op-Ed for Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania student-run newspaper,” Scanlan said. “I approached this from a scientific, statistical perspective where I used my engineering background to discuss how Y-chromosomes cannot be changed by any surgical procedure or systemic therapy. This biological fact lends itself to athletic advantages that cannot be mitigated by lowering testosterone levels, which are readily apparent in sports competitions and locker rooms.”
“The DP published my article on the evening of February 10, 2022. Only a few hours later, my piece was retracted. I was given no notice, nor reasoning. Again, I was silenced for my dissenting viewpoint, and felt my First Amendment rights were denied by my university. This is representative of a greater issue, the destruction of free speech. Today, any discussion of maintaining the sanctity of women’s spaces is labeled transphobic, bigoted, and hateful.”
Taking issue with the slurs thrown at her for pointing out basic biological facts and standards in sports that protect women that until recently were universally upheld, Scanlan declared, “What’s bigoted and hateful is the discrimination against women and the efforts to erase women and our equal opportunities, dignity, and safe spaces.”
“One may ask, why do I speak so passionately about issues that seem hypothetical or that some may perceive as impacting only a small number of women? This is not hypothetical, this is real. I know women who have lost roster spots and spots on the podium. I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in their locker room without their consent. And I am one of these women.”
Scanlan then explained that she herself suffered a sexual assault in a bathroom and so she speaks from experience for the need to protect women in such places. “I was sexually assaulted on June 3, 2016, in a bathroom,” she said. “I was able to forgive my attacker, but violence against women still exists. Let us not forget the viral #MeToo movement that empowered female victims to speak up; it cast a spotlight on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, including in scholarly and educational institutions.”
Addressing the members of the Judiciary Committee directly, she concluded, “Individuals on this committee have stated, ‘Violence against women is all too common.’ I am extremely grateful for those members who have brought awareness to violence against women in the past, but unfortunately, there is still much to be done. As a sexual assault survivor, many policies pushed today completely ignore my experiences and many women like me.”
Addressing claims of pro-transgender advocates that only a few athletes are affecting by allowing biological males who identify as a woman to join women’s sports teams and share locker rooms and bathrooms, Scanlan clarified that “hundreds” of female athletes have been affected.
“While there’s been a lot of notions that this is essentially a minority group of people, this one transgender athlete, Lia Thomas, affected hundreds of girls,” she emphasized. “There were hundreds of girls at the NCAA championship that were in tears over the situation, whether it be getting bumped out of their spot in a competition, failing to qualify for the meet, or having to change in locker room next to a 6 ft 4 biological male. This is not a minority group that is being affected by this.”
Questioned by committee members about the nomination of Thomas as NCAA Woman of the Year, Scanlan said she found this “very offensive” because there were many qualified female athletes to whom this award could have and should have gone.
Scanlan also pointed out that the governing body of the International Swimming Federation forbade any person who had gone through male puberty from competing in women’s sports, thereby barring Thomas from competing in women’s athletics in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Scanlan noted that the same standard, however, is no longer being applied at the level of collegiate and high school sports, not only placing female athletes at a disadvantage but exposing them to risk of sexual assault.
When Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat Judiciary Committee member from Tennessee, suggested that barriers in the shower rooms should be a simple way to address the concerns of female athletes, Scanlan shot back that such an admission revealed “there are biological differences between men and women.”
“By acknowledging that we need to have private spaces that are separate from each other, why can’t we just use the locker rooms that we’ve always used: men’s and women’s? If you’re acknowledging that we need protection and privacy from these men, then you’re acknowledging that the locker rooms that we’ve always used are the correct ones.”
Scanlan was joined in the hearing by formerly gender-confused, now outspoken “detransitioner” Chloe Cole, who pleaded with lawmakers to stop the “barbaric” sex “transitions” of children. Cole cited the devastating effects of her own attempted “transition” in a powerful testimony against the lies of transgender ideology.