The Transgender Swimmer Slams Critics Who Believed, She had an Unfair Advantage

trans swimmer lia thomas

Lia Thomas is the first openly transgender athlete to win a national championship in any NCAA Division I sport. The former University of Pennsylvania swimmer won her sport’s Division I national title in March.

In the midst of the continuing controversy about trans women in sports, swimmer Lia Thomas is responding to criticism she’s received for competing as a transgender woman in the sport of swimming.


Thomas stated to ABC News and ESPN that “The biggest misconception, I think, is the reason I transitioned.”

Thomas appeared to be referring to her past of swimming for the men’s team at UPenn for three years before switching to the women’s squad in her senior year, stating, “People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage, so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy, to be true to myself.”

She went on to say what she thinks about existing laws that aim to prohibit trans athletes. Students must play on a team that matches their natal gender, according to bills like Pennsylvania’s HB 972, which Thomas has said might make trans athletes feel “lonely.” Another name for it is the “Save Women’s Sports Act.”

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“Trans women competing in women’s sports does not threaten women’s sports as a whole,” Thomas told ESPN and ABC News. “Trans women are a very small minority of all athletes. The NCAA rules regarding trans women competing in women’s sports have been around for 10-plus years. And we haven’t seen any massive wave of trans women dominating.”

Thomas, who has struggled with gender dysphoria and mental health difficulties, revealed that she began hormone therapy in May 2019. She had just completed her sophomore and had thought she’d retired from competitive swimming after her Olympic gold medal-winning season.

She had received 30 months of hormone therapy by the time she started her senior year at North Carolina State University, surpassing the NCAA’s then-requirement for trans women to take 12 months of hormone therapy before they may play in a female sport, according to ESPN.

You aren’t guessing if you notice more and more transgenders appearing on television these days. It’s a fact that LGBTQ characters are increasingly appearing on TV, whether it’s in films or on the small screen.

USA Swimming required 36 months of testosterone suppression and a three-person panel to determine eligibility. Months later, in January, the NCAA announced that it would follow the example of each sport when determining whether or not a trans athlete could compete. The NCAA opted to continue with its previous guideline of allowing no more than 10 nanomoles of testosterone per liter.

Thomas stated to ESPN and ABC News about the argument that trans athletes make things unfair for cisgender women.

“If you say, like, you can compete, but you can’t score or you’re in an extra lane nine, that’s very othering towards trans people. And it is not offering them the same level of respect and opportunity to play and to compete.”

She is now an aspiring lawyer as a result of her experiences. As per ESPN, she hopes to enroll in law school this fall, studying civil rights and public interest law.

“Having seen such hateful attacks on trans rights through legislation, fighting for trans rights and trans equality is something that I’ve become much more passionate about and want to pursue,” she said.

Thomas ended her interview by stating that she has no regrets. “I’ve been able to do the sport that I love as my authentic self.”

Preston Nolan

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