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Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America Conducted an exclusive interview Working with transgender female swimmer and NCAA women’s swimming champion Lia Thomas gives her a chance to break her silence and fight back against those who say her victory threatens the women’s sport.
A sympathetic sit-down between GMA reporters Juju Chang and Thomas kicked off the review of the biological male, “making history in March by becoming the first known transgender athlete to win the Division 1 national championship.”
The segment launched Controversy surrounding her victory“But her athletic achievements on the women’s swimming team sparked a heated debate about the fairness of women’s sports,” Chang reported.
Interview briefly showcases former Olympian Caitlin Jenner and LGBTQ activist and former tennis superstar Martina Navritilova against thomasboth said her victory was “unfair”.
The ABC host had Thomas hit back at the responses. The collegiate swimmer told an interviewer, “I knew that if I competed as a woman, I would be scrutinized. I was prepared for it, but I also didn’t need anyone’s permission to be myself, to do what I like. exercise. “
The interview explains Thomas’ upbringing and talks about her early love for swimming and her early struggle with gender dysphoria.
“Designated male at birth, Thomas grew up in Austin, Texas, and she says she fell in love with swimming at age 4. But as she grew, she said she felt more and more connected to her body. out of touch,” Zhang said.
Thomas added: “I didn’t feel like a boy. I was like, ‘This is not me, this is not me.'”
“Thomas got a spot on the boys’ team at her Ivy League dream school, UPenn, but by her sophomore year, she said her gender dysphoria made her depressed and suicidal,” Chang continued. The swimmer added that she “hardly went to class, I could barely get out of bed, and I said, ‘I can’t live like this anymore. I want to be able to do what I love.'”
The interview discusses Thomas’ medical transition. “Thomas started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in May of her sophomore year of 2019,” Chang reports, asking the swimmer to clarify that the process was for her pleasure, not for a competitive advantage.
“The mental and emotional changes happened very quickly. I felt better mentally. I was less depressed, I lost muscle mass, I became weaker and slower in the water,” Thomas explained.
Zhang went on to talk about the time Thomas met NCAA guidelines to allow her to play as a woman. “Thomas started her senior year on the women’s team after following NCAA guidelines for one-year hormone therapy to change gender categories. But her success in the water was met with the wrath of the NCAA tournament.”
Chang also referred to critics’ claims that she “jumped up the rankings between the men’s and women’s teams” and asked the swimmer what she said to those who claimed she had a “competitive advantage.”
“Transgender people don’t transition for athletics,” Thomas said. “We transition to our happy, authentic and authentic selves. Transitioning to gain an edge is not a factor in our decision.”
Zhang asked somewhat defiantly, “Didn’t you transform to win more medals?” Thomas replied, “No.”
After calling Thomas a ‘lightning rod’ in the controversy, host invites Thomas to respond Letters from teammates and parents “Think of Thomas as a threat to the women’s movement.” Thomas replied: “You can’t just drop by and say ‘I support trans women and trans people, but only up to a point’, if you support trans women as women, And they’ve met all the NCAA requirements, so I don’t know if you can really say that.”
“Trans women do not pose a threat to the women’s movement,” Thomas declared.
In a somewhat balanced part of the section, Chang did talk to the doctor about whether Thomas had any physical advantages for most of her time as an unaltered male.
She asked Dr. Michael Joyner, a physiologist and professor at the Mayo Clinic, “Are you saying years of hormone therapy can’t make trans women competitive with cis women?” He replied, “I think the evidence so far It shows that two, three, four years may not be enough.”
Although Chang let Thomas have the last word in the discussion, he asked: “There is a concept of the legacy effects of testosterone, and that concept can never be zero. Should this disqualify or disqualify trans women?”
Thomas added: “I’m not a medical expert, but there is a big difference between cis female athletes. Some cis women are very tall, muscular and have higher testosterone than others, and if that also disqualifies them?”
Then at the end of the interview, Zhang asked Thomas if he would attend Olympic Gamesshe replied: “I’d love to see that.”