Lia Thomas created a buzz earlier this year as she turned in some incredible times in the pool on her way to the 500 freestyle title at the NCAA swimming and diving championships.
But not all of that buzz centered around Thomas’ performance. In fact, much of the noise came from the fact that Thomas was transgender.
And to her credit, the Penn swimmer, didn’t really say much. Until now.
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In a recent interview with ABC News and ESPN, Thomas addressed transitioning and competing.
“The biggest misconception, I think, is the reason I transitioned,” he said. “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.”
Thomas faced plenty of opposition, including 16 of her teammates who wrote a letter to their school and the Ivy League, said that she should not be competing against women.
“Trans women competing in women’s sports does not threaten women’s sports as a whole,” Thomas said. “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 see any massive wave of trans women dominating.
“Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” she added. “We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves. Transitioning to get an advantage is not something that ever factors into our decisions.”
Thomas has now reportedly graduated from Penn and is attending law school.
“Trans women are women, so it’s still a woman who is getting that scholarship or that opportunity,” she said.
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