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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, says, “I Belong On The Women’s Team.”

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Lia Thomas, a transgender collegiate swimmer who competes on the women’s team, has spoken out about the discrimination she has suffered.

The 22-year-old University of Pennsylvania swimmer remarked in an interview with Sports Illustrated:  “I’m not a man. I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”

Credits: Sport Illustrated

Last year, the teenage athlete became embroiled in a debate about whether trans women should be permitted to compete against their cisgender colleagues.

For the past three seasons, the senior student-athlete has competed on the men’s team.

Despite concerns about the impact hormone replacement therapy would have on her body and her ability to participate in her sport, Thomas began hormone replacement therapy in 2019 after coming out to her friends and family.

Following a year of hormone replacement medication, Thomas was allowed to join the women’s swim team, as per NCAA rules.

Credits: Sport Illustrated

Despite the fact that her inclusion on the team was in accordance with the rules, the decision aroused controversy.

Thomas became the subject of debate among the National Collegiate Athletic Association, USA Swimming, and right-wing critics, who chastised her for competing with non-transgender women.

Credits: Sport Illustrated

Thomas’ interview with  Sports Illustrated comes less than a month after 16 of her teammates wrote an anonymous letter to the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League, claiming that she should not be allowed to compete because she could break “Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.”

“We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically,”  The Washington Post published a copy of the letter.

Credits: Sport Illustrated

“However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity.”

“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female.”

Credits: Sport Illustrated

Featured Image Credits: todby.com

Source: 1, 2, 3.

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