Out trans University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas is speaking out publicly for the first time since she targeted by rightwing pundits and politicians for participating in school sports.
“The biggest change for me is that I’m happy,” Thomas said in a Good Morning America interview. “Sophomore year, where I had my best times competing with the men, I was miserable. And so having that be lifted is incredibly relieving and allows me to put my all into training and to racing.”
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“Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” she said. “We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves.”
This past March, Lia Thomas became the first known trans woman to win an NCAA Division 1 championship when she won the 500-yard freestyle.
But instead of being celebrated for her historic first, Thomas was vilified. Despite meeting NCAA requirements – including a year of hormone replacement therapy – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a cis woman the winner of the competition just to spite Thomas. GOP politicians cited Thomas in campaign ads, promising to ban transgender people from school sports if they get elected.
Thomas’s body – and not her achievements – became a topic of discussion in the media.
“Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports,” she said.
EXCLUSIVE: "Trans people don't transition for athletics. We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves."
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 31, 2022