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Lia Thomas Draws Boos, Criticism After Besting UVA Freshman To Become First Transgender Woman NCAA Champ

Lia Thomas made history on Thursday when she became the first known transgender woman to win an NCAA championship.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas was booed on Thursday as she became the first known transgender athlete to win a Division 1 NCAA championship in any sport. 

Thomas Wins NCAA Championship

ESPN reported that Thomas finished a full 1.75 seconds ahead of University of Virginia Emma Weyant, who came in second place in the 500-yard freestyle event. The two of them had gone stroke-for-stroke in the second half of the race, but Thomas managed to pull ahead in the final 150 yards to claim victory.

Freshman Weyant swam her career-best 4:34.99 in the NCAA women’s 500 freestyle championship.

“It means the world to be here,” Thomas said afterwards, adding that she had tried to ignore any negativity during the race.

“I try to ignore it as much as I can,” Thomas said. “I try to focus on my swimming, what I need to do to get ready for my races. And just try to block out everything else.”

Outside of the facility where the race was being held, more than 20 protesters from Save Women’s Sports and Young Women for America let it be known that they did not feel that Thomas should be allowed to compete. 

“We’re not going to stand by and let women be displaced,” said Annabelle Rutledge, the national director for Young Women for America. “We must fight for their rights.”

Concerned Women for America filed a Title IX complaint against the University of Pennsylvania yesterday, saying that the Ivy League school is violating Title IX by allowing Thomas to compete in women’s sports. 

“The future of women’s sports is at risk and the equal rights of female athletes are being infringed,” said CWA president and CEO Penny Nance. “We filed a formal civil rights complaint against UPenn in response to this injustice.”

Caitlyn Jenner And Martina Navratilova Sound Off

Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who is transgender herself, also said that Thomas should not be allowed to compete against women. 

“I don’t think biological boys should compete in women’s sports – we have to protect women’s sports… that’s the bottom line,” Jenner said, according to Pink News. “I don’t see how you can be happy beating other girls under these circumstances. You have to have a sense of personal responsibility. You can still enjoy sports but not play at a competitive level, right?”

Related: Caitlyn Jenner ‘Very Disappointed’ In NCAA – ‘We Have To Protect Women’s Sports’

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova also sounded off on Thomas.

“It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever,” Navratilova told NewsNation Prime. “But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.”

“You try to keep it as close as possible to what it would had been, were you born in the female biological body in the first place,” she added. “And even saying that, people take exception to – biological female. People don’t even want to use those words. I don’t know what else to say. Other than that.”

Related: Caitlyn Jenner Slams ‘Woke World’ – Says UPenn Swimmer Should Not Compete With Biological Women

Social Media Users Weigh In

Social media users got in on the action as well:

The NCAA currently requires trans women athletes to have one year of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to be cleared to participate in women’s sports.

What’s your take on transgender athletes competing in sports? Let us know in the comments.

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