Transgender Woman Wins NCAA National Championship and Sparks Controversy

Megan Solensky | Contributing Writer


Lia Thomas is the first transgender woman to win a division 1 National Championship in any sport. The three-time Ivy-league champion swam the 500 freestyle in 4 minutes 33 seconds to win the National title for the University of Pennsylvania. Thomas received boos from the fans in attendance after winning and during the awards ceremony. Women’s rights advocates were unhappy with Lia’s attendance in the tournament. Her participation was met with great controversy as protestors were seen outside the meet with signs that read “save women’s sports”. Many critics claim that Thomas has an unfair advantage because of her genetics. Back in January, the NCAA adopted a new policy which took a sport-by-sport approach to the participation of trans-gender athletes. Participants of the sport came forward voicing their displeasure with the NCAA allowing trans athletes to compete. Arizona swimmers sent a letter to the NCAA voicing their concerns and stated, “It’s hard to express the anguish the women’s swim community has experienced this past week watching the 2022 NCAA Swim & Dive Championships.” During their coverage of the event, NBC aired doctored images of Thomas in an attempt to make her features look less defined and more feminine. Many claim this is unethical and journalism malpractice. In a reaction to the criticism and recent controversy, Lia Thomas addressed the issue saying, “I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team.” In an interview with Sports Illustrated, she went on to say, “I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”