During an interview with ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas weighed in on the backlash he has received for competing as a female after being born male.
Thomas, who broke numerous records while competing against women swimmers and won a national championship, said he didn’t need “anybody’s permission” to compete as a female against females. He added that trans women were “not a threat to women’s sports.”
“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 that I love,” Thomas declared.
“Trans people don’t transition for athletics,” he added. “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.”
Thomas went on to push back against his 16 female teammates and some of their parents, who signed an anonymous letter saying he posed a threat to women’s sports. Although the letter signees supported his right to change genders, they didn’t think it was fair that he could compete against swimmers who were born female.
“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,” Thomas told ABC News.
He continued, “Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”
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