Lia Thomas Opens Up: ‘I Belong on the Women’s Team’

In an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated, one of college sports’ most talked about athletes, Lia Thomas, opens up about her transition and how she’s coped with the toxic comments about her career as a trans swimmer. “I’m not a man,” she says. “I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team.

Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.” Thomas began swimming with the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s team her freshman year and flourished; she broke personal records and made friends. But she struggled with gender dysphoria. “I was missing classes. My sleep schedule was super messed up.

Some days I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said. After coming out as trans, she knew it might have consequences for her future: “I did [hormone replacement therapy] knowing and accepting I might not swim again,” she said. Regarding the therapy, she said, “It surprised me… I felt, mentally, a lot better and healthier pretty quickly.”

After swimming on the men’s team for three years, she began competing with the women’s team and described feeling physically slower while training. Despite the ensuing nationwide uproar over her success in the women’s league, Thomas is committed to swimming as herself.

“I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team,” Thomas said. “I’ve always viewed myself as just a swimmer. It’s what I’ve done for so long; it’s what I love.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *