Lia Thomas: Not Your Excuse to be Ignorant


Peter H. Bick

Via “Sports News Now”

Kylee Schecter

Lia Catherine Thomas is a student athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. She is talented, extremely athletic, and yes, she is transgender. However, she is not a pawn to project bias. Biased news sources, social media pages, and even American political figures are targeting Thomas and other transgender NCAA athletes for their excellence at their sports. 

Lia Thomas participated in several events at the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Championship; including the 50 yard Free, 100 yard Free, 200 yard Free, and 500 yard Free. Thomas placed first in both the 500 yard Free preliminaries and finals, setting an Ivy League record at 4:33.24. Additionally, Thomas placed 2nd in the 200 yard Free preliminaries, 5th in the 200 yard Free finals, 4th in the 100 yard Free preliminaries, and 8th in the 100 yard Free finals. These places were rather an amazing feat for Thomas and a glowing reflection on the University of Pennsylvania’s swimming program.

However, many have turned Lia’s astounding success into a scapegoat in which they can express their bigoted beliefs. Thomas’s win has become a talking point all over social media. What these social media posts fail to do is to realize that we are speaking about a human being. Thomas put in the work to become the extraordinarily talented swimmer that she is and had to be to complete such a feat. Specifically, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed that the cisgender female competitor who came in second, to Lia, in the 500 yard Free finals was the “rightful winner” of the race and the NCAA was “perpetuating a fraud” by giving Lia the title that she trained tirelessly for. 

Unsurprisingly, the opinions of the aforementioned governor and other bigots have no legitimate justification. The NCAA’s policy, put into effect on Jan. 19, that mandates transgender women having gone through a year of testosterone suppression to compete was not instituted during the 2022 season. Therefore, this “advantage” described by these criticizers is not substantial. 

Do not use one young woman’s victory as your excuse to force your beliefs upon many others. Be kind, tolerant, and most importantly…support transgender athletes in the NCAA.