VIDEO: ESPN Honors Male Swimmer Lia Thomas During ‘Women’s History Month’

transgender athletes ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 17: University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

During its Women’s History Month recognition, cable sports network ESPN honored Lia Thomas, a male-born college swimmer who has not undergone transition surgery.

Thomas, of course, became the focus of high controversy after going from a thoroughly undistinguished male swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania to zooming to the forefront as one of the school’s top swimmers after claiming to have transitioned to a female athlete and winning one race after another for the school’s women’s team.

Consequently, thanks to that meteoric rise in the ranks of “women’s sports,” ESPN added Thomas to its “Women’s History Month” segment last week.

“People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy,” Thomas says in the ESPN segment.

ESPN is not the first organization to try and laud Thomas as a standout “woman.” UPenn also attempted to enshrine Thomas’ proclamations of womanhood by nominating him as the NCAA woman of the year. Cooler heads prevailed at the NCAA, though, when several women, and not Thomas, were chosen to receive the honors.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after finishing tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the...

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after finishing tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022, at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Not everyone was thrilled to see Thomas go from a mediocre male swimmer to a top-placing female in college sports. Thomas’ performance shocked college sports and brought the ire of teammates, 16 of whom joined in an anonymous letter to complain about the “unfair advantage over the competition in the women’s category” that Thomas represented.

“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” the letter said.

Another of Thomas’ teammates later added, “You can tell he is mentally ill. I saw the video and was so disgusted. Lia identified as a woman, but she is not a female. That is a fact. It doesn’t matter how you feel.”

Women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova blasted the NCAA over Thomas’s new records and said an “asterisk should accompany the swimmer’s name.”

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

“But right now, the rules are what they are,” the tennis great continued++. “Maybe put an asterisk there if she starts breaking records left and right.”

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