Swimmer Lia Thomas
Swimmer Lia Thomas, who became the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship earlier this year, is responding to criticism against trans women competing in sports.
” Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” Thomas said in an interview that aired Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”
” 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,” she added.
The former University of Pennsylvania swimmer first made national headlines in December after posting the nation’s fastest times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
The biggest misconception, I think, is the reason I transitioned,” said the 23-year-old swimmer, who began hormone therapy in May 2019.
” 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 added.
Thomas, who graduated from Penn earlier this month, said that she will attend law school in the fall. She later hopes to work in 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.
” 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 seen any massive wave of trans women dominating.”
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