Trans swimmer Lia Thomas opens up about her membership in the women’s team

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Much has been made of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who is speaking out about the controversy that has rocked the sport since she started breaking records.

The 22-year-old University of Pennsylvania swimmer has pushed back against critics who say she doesn’t belong on the women’s team.

“I’m a woman, just like anyone else on the team,” Thomas told Sports Illustrated.

And while she easily broke all sorts of college records, Thomas said swimming wasn’t for her. “I go in the water every day and do my best.”

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However, some argue that his “best” isn’t fair to other female athletes.

Although she has supporters, there are more people against Thomas, including some of her own teammates who claim she has an “unfair biological advantage” and should be banned from competition after swimming for three years in the men’s team.

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Those same teammates — who sent an unsigned letter to Ivy League officials asking that Thomas be kept out of the conference championship — said they support Lia as a person and her journey, but not as part of their team.

This did not sit well with Thomas, who argued that there is no half-backing – either you fully support her as a woman or you don’t.

“The very simple answer is that I’m not a man,” she told SI. “I’m a woman, so I belong to the women’s team. Trans people deserve the same respect as all other athletes. »

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The letter fell on deaf ears and the Ivy League later issued a statement that Thomas would be allowed to swim because she had been on testosterone suppression treatment for over a year, in accordance with the Conditions of eligibility.

It was between her sophomore and freshman year that she decided she wanted to swim with other women at UPenn.

“I was invigorated,” Thomas said. “I have been swimming for 17 years, but since [only] a short part of that time I felt fully engaged. After coming and being authentic myself, I could really start to see a future.

She added: “I don’t know exactly what the future of my swimming will look like after this year, but I would like to continue to do so.

“I just want to show trans kids and young trans athletes that they’re not alone,” she said. “They don’t have to choose between who they are and the sport they love.”

  1. The debate over the unfair advantage of transgender swimmers rages on

  2. Lia Thomas is pictured in a recent photo posted to the UPenn Swimming and Diving Instagram post.

    Lia Thomas ‘impossible to beat,’ competitor says of transgender swimmer

  3. Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, completes the 200-meter freestyle for the University of Pennsylvania during an Ivy League swimming meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 22, 2022.

    Teammates of ‘uncomfortable’ transgender swimmer Lia Thomas share locker room with her: report

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