GMA’s sympathetic sit down between journalist Juju Chang and Thomas began with a recap on the biological male “making history in March as the first known transgender athlete to win a Division 1 national title.”
The segment launched into the controversy surrounding her win, Chang reported, “But her athletic achievements on the women’s swim team igniting fierce debate over fairness in women’s sports.”
The interview briefly showed former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner as well as LGBTQ activist and former tennis great Martina Navritilova speaking out against Thomas, with both saying her win is “not fair.”
The ABC host teed up Thomas to hit back at those responses. The college swimmer told the interviewer, “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 to do the sport that I love.”
The interview explained Thomas’s time growing up and recounted her early love of swimming as well as her early struggles with gender dysphoria.
“Assigned male at birth, Thomas grew up in Austin, Texas, where she says she fell in love with swimming when she was just 4. But as she grew, she says she felt increasingly disconnected to her body,” Chang stated.
Thomas ha aggiunto: “I didn’t feel like I was a boy. ero come, ‘This isn’t me, this isn’t who I am.’”
“Thomas earned a spot at her Ivy League dream school, UPenn, on the men’s team, but by her sophomore year, she says her gender dysphoria left her depressed and suicidal,” Chang continued. The swimmer added that she was “barely going to classes, I could barely get out of bed, e io dissi, ‘I can’t live like this anymore. I want to be able to do things I enjoy.’”
The interview discussed Thomas’s medical transition. “Thomas began HRT, hormone replacement therapy, in May of her sophomore year, 2019,” Chang reported, and allowed the swimmer to clarify that this process was done for the sake of her happiness, not for a competitive advantage.
“The mental and emotional changes happened very quickly. I was feeling a lot better mentally. I was less depressed, and I lost muscle mass and I became a lot weaker and a lot slower in the water,” Thomas explained.
Chang then spoke about the time when Thomas met the NCAA guidelines to allow her to compete as a woman. “After following NCAA guidelines of a year of hormone therapy to change gender categories, Thomas started her senior year on the women’s team. But her success in the water was met with outrage leading up to the NCAA championships.”
Chang also mentioned critics’ claims that she “jumped in rankings between the men’s and women’s team,” and asked the swimmer what she says to those who claim she has a “competitive advantage.”
“Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” Thomas ha detto. “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.”
Getting somewhat provocative, Chang then asked, “You didn’t transition to win more medals?” Thomas answered, “No.”
After referring to Thomas as a “lightning rod” for this controversy, the host invited Thomas to respond to teammates and their parents’ letters “arguing that Thomas posed a threat to women’s sports.” Thomas responded, “You can’t go halfway and be like, ‘I support trans women and trans people, but only to a certain point,’ 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.”
“Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports,” Thomas declared.
In a somewhat balanced portion of the segment, Chang did speak to a doctor about whether Thomas had any physical advantage from most her life as an unaltered male.