Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer who won an NCAA Division I women’s championship in 2022, has criticized women who argue that only athletes born to girls should compete in women’s sports.

Thomas said some of his University of Pennsylvania teammates were «half-hearted» supporters of the swimmer, who was competing against women despite being a biological male. He did not compete against women until the 2021-22 season.

«They’re like, ‘Oh, we respect Lia as a woman, as a trans woman or whatever. We respect her identity. We just don’t think it’s fair.'» You can’t really have that kind of half-hearted support where you’re like, ‘Oh, I respect her as a woman here, but not here,'» Thomas said on fellow trans swimmer Schuyler’s podcast Dance «Dear Schuyler.»

“You can’t break me down as a person into little pieces, and say, ‘OK, this is fine, this is fine, that’s not.’ It pretends to be supportive on some level, but in reality, it just fails.


Lia Thomas of Pennsylvania prepares to swim in the women’s 500 yard freestyle final at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

«They’re wearing the guise of feminism to push transphobic beliefs. I think a lot of people in that field have an implicit bias against trans people, but I guess they don’t want to fully manifest it or talk about it.» . And so they try to play him as a kind of support half.»

Thomas’ grievances with her teammates arose when 16 of them wrote a letter to the school saying they felt it was unfair for Thomas to compete in the women’s division.

“They think about how twisted ‘feminism’ has become in their arguments. To exclude someone in the trans category, you have to reduce women to reproductive capacity, which is, in my opinion, extremely anti-feminist,” Bailar said.

UPenn athlete Lia Thomas at nationals

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

Thomas says she doesn’t feel responsible for the intense debate about transgender women in women’s sports, and she blames those who oppose the phenomenon.


«I definitely struggled, at first, like a year ago after the season, after the NCAA, feeling almost a responsibility or maybe even a guilt for some of the new rules or laws,» Thomas said of the publicity she received. .

He said it was «frustrating to focus on the controversy of… trans women in sports.»

«It wasn’t me personally who brought it on. It was just that they were waiting for a trans woman to succeed to go on a tirade against trans people and pass all kinds of legislation,» Thomas added. «So, that helped me get over that a little bit.»

Lia Thomas in swimming competition

Lia Thomas of Pennsylvania waits for a preliminary heat at the NCAA Women’s 500m Freestyle Swimming Championships on March 17, 2022 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation aimed at preventing biological men from competing as transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports in schools across the country after a debate in which several Democrats accused Republicans of «harassing» transgender students by promoting the bill.

Fox News’ Peter Kasperowicz contributed to this report.