Lia Thomas, an openly transgender athlete, won the NCAA Division I national title in any sport in March.

Lia Thomas addresses criticisms she has faced as a transgender college swimmer in the midst of ongoing debate about trans women in sport.

In March, the former University of Pennsylvania swimmer was the first transgender person to win an NCAA Division I national title in any sport.

Thomas stated that the biggest misconception is why I have transitioned. This was in an interview published Tuesday by ABC News and ESPN.

Thomas made reference to her three-year history as a swimmer for UPenn’s men before she joined the women’s swim team in her senior year. She said, “People will say that she just transitioned so that she would have an edge, so she can win.” To be happy and true to myself, I switched to transition.

She shared her thoughts about recent legislation to restrict trans athletes. Thomas said that Pennsylvania’s HB-972 could make trans athletes feel lonely. It requires students to be on a team that is consistent with their birth sex. It is also known by the “Save Women’s Sports Act.”

Thomas stated that trans women participating in women’s sport does not pose a threat to women’s overall sports. Thomas spoke out for ESPN and ABC News. “Transwomen are only a small percentage of all athletes. Since more than ten years, NCAA regulations regarding trans women participating in women’s sport have been in place. We haven’t seen a huge wave of transgender women dominate.”

Thomas, who suffered from gender dysphoria as well as mental health issues, said that she began hormone therapy in May 2019. Thomas, who had just finished her second year of swimming, believed she was done with swimming.

She had already received 30 months worth of hormone therapy by the time she started her senior year in November. This was more than the NCAA’s requirement that trans women must have 12 months of hormone treatment before they can participate in female sports, ESPN reported.

The NCAA stated that it would follow each sport’s lead when deciding whether a transathlete could compete. This was in January months later. USA Swimming demanded that the testosterone be suppressed for 36 months and that three persons evaluate applicants for eligibility. The NCAA remained true to its original policy and required that no more than 10 nanomoles per liter of testosterone be used.