In a recent Twitter post, Dr. Katja Thieme, a journalism professor at the University of British Columbia, stirred up a heated debate by suggesting that children should be exposed to adult genitalia to prepare them for the possibility of encountering a naked transgender person. The comment came as a part of her criticism of swimmer and women’s rights advocate, Riley Gaines.
The Twitter thread began when Thieme responded to a video of Gaines discussing her experiences competing against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. In her response, Thieme not only criticized Gaines but also made a controversial parenting suggestion:
“Hey, want to know one of my all-time excellent parenting ideas? Let. Little. Children. See. Penises. And. Vulvas. Of. Various. Ages. And. Sizes. In. A. Casual. Normalized. Totally. Safe. Way. The world will thank you for it. And so will those children when they grow up.”
Thieme’s tweet not only sparked outrage but also intensified the ongoing debate around transgender athletes’ inclusion in women’s sports. Gaines, who had previously competed against Lia Thomas, voiced her concerns about the challenges she faced during the competition, leading to a confrontation with Thomas. This encounter fueled Gaines’ opposition to transgender athletes’ unrestricted participation in women’s sports.
In her thread, Thieme labeled Gaines as a transphobe and mocked her emotional reaction to losing against Thomas, referring to it as “whiny” and “sore not-even-loser.”
The University professor further claimed that incidents where women felt uncomfortable after encountering biological males in locker rooms contributed to the rise of “anti-trans activism.” She described how such incidents often led to protests, events, meetings, and hearings organized by individuals opposing the inclusion of transgender individuals in certain facilities.
Thieme’s tweets have sparked widespread criticism, with many describing her suggestions as “grooming.” People expressed concerns about the potential impact on children and questioned the university’s response to her comments. Thieme later made her Twitter profile private,
Meanwhile, Gaines has been an outspoken advocate against allowing transgender student-athletes to compete against their chosen gender without restrictions. She criticized President Biden’s proposed changes to Title IX civil rights law, which would allow trans athletes to compete in school contests without blanket bans in kindergarten through eighth grade but would give high schools the authority to address fairness concerns.
The debate surrounding transgender inclusion in sports continues to be a contentious issue, with both sides expressing strong opinions on the matter. While Thieme’s comments have drawn significant criticism, they have also reignited the conversation about how to create an inclusive and fair environment for all athletes.