Penn's women’s swimming and diving team released a statement on Tuesday expressing support of transgender swimmer and teammate Lia Thomas, the College senior at the center of national controversy regarding the participation of transgender athletes in sports. 

"We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition. We value her as a person, teammate, and friend,” the team said in the Feb. 1 statement, as first reported by ESPN. The statement referred to a Fox News interview with an anonymous member of the women’s swimming and diving team who opposes the University's decision to allow Thomas to compete.

“The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds," the team's statement read.

Penn Athletics declined to comment on the women’s swimming and diving team in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Thomas broke several records at the Zippy Invitational in December, where she qualified for the NCAA championships after winning the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. Thomas, who has undergone more than two years of hormone replacement therapy, made the best times in collegiate women's swimming for two events this season. 

Shortly after Thomas' wins, which led to widespread media coverage, the NCAA delegated rules associated with transgender involvement to each sport’s governing bodies. 

The newly adopted standard by the NCAA now states that guidelines on the eligibility of transgender athletes will be determined by the national governing body of each individual sport. 

Amid the controversy, USA Swimming released a new policy on Feb. 1 establishing eligibility guidelines on transgender athletes' participation in elite events. The policy will apply to transgender athletes who are seeking to set records in the 13-14 age group and older, or those who wish to set American records, according to USA Swimming Rules & Regulations.

"The development of the elite policy therefore acknowledges a competitive difference in the male and female categories and the disadvantages this presents in elite head-to-head competition," USA Swimming said in a statement.

The Athletic Inclusion, Competitive Equity and Eligibility Policy by USA Swimming establishes that transgender women must maintain a concentration of testosterone in their serum at less than five nanomoles per liter for at least 36 months before the date of application, and also provide evidence that they do not have a competitive advantage over cisgender female competitors. The Olympic standard for transgender athletes is 10 nanomoles per liter, double the new US Swimming standard.  

USA Swimming's updated guidelines come just weeks before the NCAA championships, which are scheduled for March. 

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced Wednesday that his department added the options of transgender male, transgender female, nonbinary and other, when veterans select their gender, in medical records and healthcare documentation.

“All veterans, all people, have a basic right to be identified as they define themselves,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “This is essential for their general well-being and overall health. Knowing the gender identity of transgender and gender-diverse veterans helps us better serve them.”

The statement also noted that the change allows health-care providers to better understand and meet the medical needs of their patients. The information also could help providers identify any stigma or discrimination that a veteran has faced that might be affecting their health.

McDonough speaking at a Pride Month event last June at the Orlando VA Healthcare System, emphasized his support for Trans and LGBQ+ vets.

McDonough said that he pledged to overcome a “dark history” of discrimination and take steps to expand access to care for transgender veterans.

With this commitment McDonough said he seeks to allow “transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA by their side,” McDonough said. “We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do, but because they can save lives,” he added.

In a survey of transgender veterans and transgender active-duty service members, transgender veterans reported several mental health diagnoses, including depression (65%), anxiety (41%), PTSD (31%), and substance abuse (16%).  In a study examining VHA patient records from 2000 to 2011 (before the 2011 VHA directive), the rate of suicide-related events among veterans with a gender identity disorder (GID) diagnoses was found to be 20 times higher than that of the general VHA patient population.

McDonough acknowledged the VA research pointing out that in addition to psychological distress, trans veterans also may experience prejudice and stigma. About 80 percent of trans veterans have encountered a hurtful or rejecting experience in the military because of their gender identity.

“LGBTQ+ veterans experience mental illness and suicidal thoughts at far higher rates than those outside their community,” McDonough said. “But they are significantly less likely to seek routine care, largely because they fear discrimination.

“At VA, we’re doing everything in our power to show veterans of all sexual orientations and gender identities that they can talk openly, honestly and comfortably with their health care providers about any issues they may be experiencing,” he added.

All VA facilities have had a local LGBTQ Veteran Care Coordinator responsible for helping those veterans connect to available services since 2016.

“We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do but because they can save lives,” McDonough said. He added that the VA would also change the name of the Veterans Health Administration’s LGBT health program to the LGBTQ+ Health Program to reflect greater inclusiveness.

Much of the push for better access to healthcare and for recognition of the trans community is a result of the polices of President Joe Biden, who reversed the ban on Trans military enacted under former President Trump, expanding protections for transgender students and revived anti-bias safeguards in health care for transgender Americans.

Trans Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider —  an engineering manager living in Oakland, California — has become the show’s highest-earning female contestant of all time.

As of last Friday, she has won 18 consecutive victories, bringing her total winnings to $706,800. In doing so, she beat the womens’ record set by Larissa Kelly, who won $655,930 in regular-season play and Jeopardy! tournament appearances, Newsweek reported.

Kelly congratulated Schneider in a December 24 tweet which read, “Well, it was fun to hold a Jeopardy record for a few years…but it’s been even more fun to watch @Jeopardamy set new standards for excellence, on the show and off. Congratulations to Amy on becoming the woman with the highest overall earnings in the show’s history!”

In response to Kelly’s tweet, Schneider replied, “Thanks so much, I’m honored to be in your company, and I look forward to some day watching the woman who beats us both!”

Kelly then responded, “I hope there will be a long line of such women, but you are certainly setting the bar extremely high for them! (And holy hell, that’s *before* any tournaments…can’t wait to see the fireworks to come!)”

Schneider first gained fame amongst LGBTQ Jeopardy! fans by becoming the show’s new champion during Trans Awareness Week. Her win defeated five-time champion Andrew He.

“I genuinely couldn’t believe it,” Schneider wrote on Twitter after her first win. “After 30+ years of watching, and 10+ years of trying to get on, I’d actually won Jeopardy!”

After winning five episodes in a row, she qualified to compete in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, a yearly tournament between the show’s 15 contestants that won in the most episodes. She was the first out trans contestant ever to do so.

However, she’s still many victories away from breaking the second-place record for most consecutive wins: 38, set by Matt Amodio in 2021. The first-place record was set by Kyle Jennings’ 74-win streak in 2004.

In a November editorial for Newsweek, Schneider wrote, “It’s a strange thing to think that I have made history as the first trans person to qualify for the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. It was inspirational for me to see transgender contestants on the show before I became a contestant and I hope that I am now doing that same thing for all the other trans Jeopardy! fans out there…I hope I have given them the opportunity to see a trans person succeed.”

Jameela Jamil and Jonathan Van Ness are among some of the top Netflix stars who will support a walkout by employees at the streamer in the wake of Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special.

Chappelle's The Closer, which was released on Netflix earlier this month, features the comedian declaring himself as "team TERF" - referencing the acronym trans-exclusionary radical feminist - as well as defending JK Rowling's gender critical stance.

The streaming giant was urged by some LGBTQ+ organisations to pull the show down, branding Chappelle's comments transphobic, with one group accusing the comic of delivering "anti-LGBTQ diatribes".

A group of employees at Netflix have planned a walkout on Wednesday, after top boss Ted Sarandos defended the show, saying it would remain on the platform.

It comes after a member of staff and the head of a trans employee group at Netflix was fired for leaking confidential data surrounding the show, including how much was paid for it - metrics which are fiercely guarded by the streamer.

As part of the walkout, Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness, who identifies as non-binary, and The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil will feature in a video message to Sarandos, supporting the company's transgender employees and to urge him to push for more inclusive and non-discriminatory content on Netflix.

Queer Eye, a reboot of the 00s lifestyle show, and after-life sitcom The Good Place have been huge, critically-acclaimed successes for Netflix, with the former launching Van Ness into global stardom.

Eureka O'Hara from RuPaul's Drag Race and Angelica Ross from Pose will also feature among other Netflix stars in the clip.

The walkout has been organised by Ashlee Marie Preston and will take place at Netflix's Hollywood headquarters. It will share a list of demands with Sarandos, including the creation of a fund to develop trans and non-binary talent and the need for recruiting trans people to leadership roles.

In an Instagram post, Ms Preston said she wants "to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritise the safety and dignity of all marginalised communities".

She added: "We shouldn't have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities. Instead, we aim to use this moment to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment, while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers, alike."

 

 

By Loki River

In a world where technology is everywhere and people are more accepting than ever, coming out is still one of the hardest things a queer person can do.

When I first explored my identity, I told myself I would never come out. Instead, I would live my life authentically as a queer, asexual, polyamorous Transgender man.

I slowly came out over time. First, I told my close friends, who accepted me straight away. I then began to make new friends with other queer people online, who helped me figure out who I am.

‘I Always Knew It Was Going To Be Hard’

In 2018 I downloaded TikTok to watch other people and to have a hobby in my downtime. This grew to me becoming a content creator where I post about my journey – from coming out, to starting testosterone, to getting help to crowdfund top surgery next year. But with the good came the bad. 

Some people that knew my mother went against my wishes and outed me to her. It hurt so immensely because I knew she would not accept me, and I was right. When I told her “I am trans”, she at first acted as if it was ok. But ever since then, she has not respected my identity. 

My father also found out I am trans when a friend outed me to him. He then went and told his friends, “I still class her as a woman, even though her voice sounds like a boy.” I always knew it was going to be hard, but nothing could have prepared me for the hurt I felt.

‘I Want My Parents To Know The Real Me’

Since neither of my parents accept me, I leave any conversation about myself at the door anytime I see them. This is disappointing because I want my parents to know me, the real me. Not the person they want me to be.

During the end of 2019 I decided my parents decisions weren’t going to dictate my life. My feelings and emotions were mine. If I want to cut my hair, and dress masculine then that is on me. This helped significantly with my mental health. I was able to express myself and be happier instead of keeping all of my emotions bottled up.

I found my real family online. Older queer people became my ‘parents’, and I became a ‘dad’ to younger queer people. I found strength through them.

When I became an influencer on TikTok, I became friends with people like AJ Clementine, an LGBTQI model and activist. AJ has helped me be proud of who I am. Thanks to her I am no longer afraid to be myself. I strive to use my platform to help other people like me, and provide a safe space to anyone

Buy It Now!