Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Not Recognised As Winner Of Race By Governor Of Florida
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Florida governor Ron DeSantis is refusing to acknowledge transgender swimmer Lia Thomas as the winner of a college swimming championship.
Last week saw Thomas win the women's 500-yard freestyle event at a competition in Atlanta, Georgia and become the first transgender woman to become a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion.
It's the highest honour a collegiate athlete can earn in the USA and Thomas won the title in four minutes 33.24 seconds.
She beat Florida native Emma Weyant and DeSantis has decided he'll be recognising her as the winner.
"They're crowning somebody else the women's champion and we think that's wrong," he said in a statement.
"They are putting ideology ahead of opportunity for women athletes and I think that there are just some people that are afraid to speak out and say what they are doing, but that is what they are doing."
Reuters asked the NCAA for a comment but they didn't immediately respond.
Thomas previously swam for the University of Pennsylvania's men's team before starting hormone replacement therapy in 2019.
Transgender rights remain a controversial topic in the United States and Thomas' case has captured the attention of the nation.
Thomas hit back at the critics in an interview earlier this month and said she wants to inspire other trans people with her story.
"It means the world to be here."
Lia Thomas spoke about swimming in the NCAA women's championships. pic.twitter.com/aP0afVA0KE
- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 18, 2022
"The very simple answer is that I'm not a man," she explained to Sports Illustrated.
"I'm a woman, so I belong on the women's team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.
"I just want to show trans kids and younger trans athletes that they're not alone. They don't have to choose between who they are and the sport they love.
"I don't know exactly what the future of my swimming will look like after this year, but I would love to continue doing it. I want to swim and compete as who I am."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: swimming, Lia Thomas