Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas said that she didn’t transition to have an advantage over biologically female swimmers — she wanted to “be her authentic self” and even wants to compete in the Olympics.
Thomas’ remarks come as two physicians told the New York Times that they believe the NCAA swimmer has a leg up on her competition due to having been born male.
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Thomas told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that she doesn’t feel that she needs “anybody’s permission to be myself” and criticized those who champion transgender rights except for in the circumstance of women’s sports.
“You can’t go halfway and be like ‘I support trans people but only to a certain point,'” she said. “If you support trans women and they’ve met all the NCAA requirements, I don’t know if you can say something like that. … Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”
She later added, “Trans people don’t transition for athletics. We transition to be happy and authentic and to be ourselves. … Transition to get an advantage is not something that factors into our decisions.”
Thomas later noted, “It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time. I would love to see that through.”
Last week, Michael Joyner and sports physiologist Ross Tucker told the Times that Thomas’ biological makeup presents her with an unfair advantage over biologically female swimmers even though she took hormone-suppressing drugs for the NCAA-required amount of time.
Joyner told the outlet that while girls typically grow faster when compared to boys, boys quickly surpass their female counterparts when puberty comes into play.
“You see the divergence immediately as the testosterone surges into the boys,” Joyner explained. “There are dramatic differences in performances.”
He added that while “social aspects to sport” exist, physiology and biology “underpin it.”
“Testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla,” he added.
Tucker noted, “Lia Thomas is the manifestation of the scientific evidence. The reduction in testosterone did not remove her biological advantage.