Former Penn swimmer Lia Thomas has Olympic goals, says trans women 'not a threat to women's sports'

Thomas sat down with ABC NewsJuju Chang for her first televised interview to talk about her controversial season at the University of Pennsylvania, where she became the first transgender woman to win a Division 1 national title.

I knew there would be scrutiny against me if I competed as a woman. I was prepared for that but I also don’t need anybody’s permission to be myself and do the sport I love,” she said in the interview, which aired Tuesday 上 “早安美国。”

汤玛士, 23, addressed concerns that despite going through a year of hormone therapy, she still had a physical advantage over other female swimmers.

Lia Thomas after winning the Women's 500 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championship at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology on March 17, 2022 在亚特兰大.

Lia Thomas after winning the Women’s 500 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology on March 17, 2022 在亚特兰大. (Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images, 文件)

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There’s a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do and the biggest change for me is that I’m happy and sophomore year, when I had my best times competing with the men, I was miserable. So having that be lifted is incredibly relieving and allows me to put my all into training and racing,” 托马斯说.

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.

Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas cheers for teammates competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle final at the Ivy League swimming and diving championships at Harvard, 星期六, 二月. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, 弥撒.

Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas cheers for teammates competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle final at the Ivy League swimming and diving championships at Harvard, 星期六, 二月. 19, 2022, in Cambridge, 弥撒. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, 文件)

Thomas argued that cisgender women athletes also had different physical body types and questioned if they too should be disqualified over what might be considered an advantage.

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I’m not a medical expert, but there’s a lot of variation among cis female athletes,” 她说. “There are cis women who are very tall and very muscular and have more testosterone than another cis woman, and should that then also disqualify them?”

Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a Division I national title in March when she defeated Olympic medalist and Virginia standout Emma Weyant by just over a second in the 500 free final, setting a program record in the process.

From left to right: Lia Thomas after winning the 500-yard freestyle as other medalists Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Forde posed for a photo at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022, 在亚特兰大.

From left to right: Lia Thomas after winning the 500-yard freestyle as other medalists Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Forde posed for a photo at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022, 在亚特兰大. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images, 文件)

She competed in two other categories – finishing 5th in the 200 freestyle and dead last in the 100 纽约市真正的家庭主妇.

Members of the Penn women’s swimming team spoke out anonymously against Thomas’ 参与, arguing it hurt the integrity of the sport but added they supported her decision to transition.

You can’t go halfway and be, 喜欢, ‘I support trans women and trans people, but only to a certain point,'” Thomas said in response. “Where if you support trans women as women and they’ve met all the NCAA requirements, then I don’t know if you can really say something like that.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines reacting after they tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022, at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines reacting after they tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022, at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, 文件)

她继续: “Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.

Thomas told Chang that she plannedto keep swimming,” 和 including in the Olympics. “It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time, and I would love to see that through.

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