The author — who herself is trans — believes that Phelps's stance had immense influence over the University of Pennsylvania swim team members who penned a letter to school and Ivy League officials requesting that their trans teammate Lia Thomas be banned from taking part in the NCAA championships.
"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," Chandler, 49, said exclusively in a statement to Radar.
"Governing bodies should not succumb to outside pressure by people that are not trans and don't have a horse in the race," the crisis management consultant added. "What makes Michael Phelps an authority to even speak to trans women competing in swimming?"
"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?" she emphasized to the outlet.
On Thursday, February 3, sixteen of the school's female swim team members sent a letter to university officials asking them to change the trans eligibility requirements for competition. "We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman," the letter read. "Lia has every right to live her life authentically."
The students made sure to emphasize that they "recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone's gender identity." But they feel that "Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women's category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female."
Phelps, 36, had previously stated in regard to allowing transgender athletes to compete, that he believed that the sport should be a “level playing field.”
When asked about Thomas, 22, the famous athlete told CNN, “I think this leads back to the organizing committees again because it has to be a level playing field." He added, "That's something that we all need. Because that's what sports are. For me, I don't know where this is going to go. I don't know what's going to happen.”