Lia Thomas has finally spoken up.

Thomas publicly discussed the controversy surrounding her results in the women’s NCAA Championships in March and her future in swimming with ABC News’ Juju Chang for the first time since she won a national title more than two months ago.

Thomas, a trans woman, opened up about her journey to becoming a woman, which started in 2019, in her most recent in-depth interview with Coleman Hodges of SwimSwam in December 2021.

Since then, the student-athlete from the University of Pennsylvania has won two Ivy League titles in the women’s 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. In mid-March, she also won the NCAA title in the 500.

Despite the fact that Thomas’ NCAA eligibility has ended, she claims she will still compete.

“Swimming at the Olympic Trials has always been a goal of mine, and I would love to see that through,” she remarked.

Thomas also talked about the controversy that erupted around her swims during the 2021–22 college season and that culminated at the NCAA Championships, where demonstrators voiced their disapproval of her right to compete as a woman.

“If I competed as a woman, I knew there would be criticism directed at me. I was ready for that, but I also don’t need anyone’s approval to be who I am and play the sport I love,” the woman remarked.

Thomas, who will start law school in the autumn, credited her swimming accomplishments to feeling relieved that she had at last been authentic and had completed the shift.

When asked about her ranking as a woman compared to when she participated in the male category, she responded, “There are a lot of factors that go into a race and how well you do.” “And I’m pleased, which is the biggest difference for me. And I was miserable my sophomore year, which was also when I had the best times competing against the men. It is so very relieving to have it lifted, and it allows me to give training and racing my best.

“Transgender people transition to be joyful, real, and true to themselves—not to compete in sports. We seldom consider transitioning to get an edge when making decisions.

Thomas also spoke to the group of swimmers from Penn who signed a letter, anonymously, requesting that Penn and the Ivy League follow the new transgender rules set forth by USA Swimming, which would prevent Thomas from competing in postseason NCAA swimming.

The swimmers stated they gave Thomas their complete support throughout the transition.

According to Thomas, one cannot only say, “I support trans women and trans people, but only to a certain extent.” “Whereas I’m not sure whether you can say something like that if you support trans women as women and they’ve fulfilled all NCAA rules.

“Women’s sports are not threatened by transgender athletes.”

Speaking to people who believe that the effects of testosterone and male puberty are irreversible, Thomas said, “There’s a lot of variation among cisfemale athletes, but I’m not a medical expert.” Some ciswomen are taller than average and have higher testosterone levels than average. Would that make them ineligible?

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