Lia Thomas and transgender people

Lia Thomas is an American transgender athlete who completed in swimming in college. Her victory in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Division I Nationals became the topic of intense media scrutiny.


Lia Catherine Thomas grew up in Austin, Texas. She competed in swimming in high school and at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2018, after her freshman year, she came out as trans. In 2020 she began using the name Lia and started to swim on the women’s team.

After her final collegiate events in 2022, Thomas said she planned to attend law school and compete in the Olympics. Weeks later, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced new rules that disqualified Thomas.


ESPN (May 31, 2022). Penn swimmer Lia Thomas opens up about being the 1st transgender D-I athlete to win an NCAA title -


Sanchez, Robert (March 3, 2022). ‘I Am Lia’: The Trans Swimmer Dividing America Tells Her StorySports Illustrated. [archive]

Witz, Billy (January 24, 2022). As Lia Thomas Swims, Debate About Transgender Athletes SwirlsThe New York Times. [archive]

Levenson, Eric (February 23, 2022). How an Ivy League swimmer became the face of the debate on transgender women in sportsCNN. [archive]

Melnick, Kyle; Carpenter, Les (June 19, 2022). FINA vote restricts transgender athletes in women’s competitionsThe Washington Post. [archive]


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