“The biggest change for me is that I’m happy,” Lia Thomas.
Swimmer Lia Thomas has unfortunately been at the centre of a debate involving transgender athletes participating in NCAA sports.
In March 2022, Thomas made history as the first transgender swimmer to win a major US NCAA title. The competition was a major turning point in the controversy as many were not recognizing her win. This includes a Florida Governor who continues to support Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation and publicly revoked Thomas’s win.
Despite following the NCAA criteria to participate as a transgender woman, including a year of hormone replacement therapy, Thomas continues to receive hate about her accomplishments. These tests allow Thomas to compete, but the public continues to slander her accomplishments.
The elite swimmer opened up in an interview with ESPN sharing her stories and experiences in college athletics. Thomas previously did not address the hate she received in the media but explained the difficulties she has overcome during her transition in the interview.
“Trans people don’t transition for athletics. 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 said.
Thomas also acknowledged that many swimmers in the Ivy League Conference were upset that she moved from the men’s team at the University of Pennsylvania to the women’s team. She continued by stating all of the athletes go through hours of intensive workouts and training to compete at such an elite level. Division one athletics is very competitive, but Thomas is happy to have her small circle of teammates who help support her.
After Thomas’ major win in March, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reported that trans women have no biological advantage when competing in women’s sports. After her HRT treatment, it was found that Thomas’ testosterone levels, muscle mass and strength all decreased.
Lia Thomas graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May and plans on attending law school. This is not the end of her swimming career as she continues to train in hopes of making it to the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.