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Loudmouth transphobe Ron DeSantis shamefully tries to steal swimmer Lia Thomas’ historic win

Maggie Baska March 23, 2022
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Side by side images of trans swimmer Lia Thomas and Florida governor Ron DeSantis

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Florida governor Ron DeSantis. (Getty/Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire/Joe Raedle)

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is refusing to recognise trans athlete Lia Thomas’ historic win at a women’s college swimming event last week. 

DeSantis, who has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT+ legislation, issued a proclamation declaring Florida-native Emma Weyant as the “rightful winner” of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming championship women’s 500-yard freestyle event. 

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas took the top spot in the event and narrowly beat Weyant, who previously won the silver medal at the 400m individual medley at the Tokyo Olympics. Thomas is the first trans athlete to win an NCAA swimming championship

But DeSantis said the result tried to “undermine the integrity of the competition” and criticised the NCAA for allowing Thomas to compete. 

“The NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics, they’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition and they’re crowning somebody else the women’s champion and we think that’s wrong,” DeSantis wrote.

“They are putting ideology ahead of opportunity for women athletes and I think that there are just some people that are afraid to speak out and say what they are doing, but that is what they are doing.”

He claimed in a post on Twitter that the NCAA is “destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships and perpetuating a fraud” by allowing trans athletes to compete in women’s sports. 

DeSantis’ declaration rejecting Thomas’ victory has no bearing on the outcome of the event as the NCAA sets the rules and oversees judging on events. 

PinkNews has reached out to the college sports’ governing body for comment on DeSantis’ statement. 

Lia Thomas has been the victim of horrific anti-trans hate amid an ongoing debate on trans rights and the ability for trans student-athletes to participate in sports in state legislatures, right-wing media and on social media. 

Several people criticised Ron DeSantis on Twitter, and many accused him of ‘transphobia’ over his proclamation about the NCAA championship results.

Ron DeSantis, who is seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, signed legislation last year banning trans athletes from competing in women’s sporting events in Florida high schools and colleges. 

He also previously said he would “for sure” sign legislation banning gender-affirming surgeries for trans youth if it landed on his desk. The GOP governor declared he is “very much opposed” to such gender-affirming treatments and likened them to “chemical castration”. 

DeSantis has signalled his support for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, hinting he may sign the controversial legislation into law after it was approved state’s Senate earlier this month

 

More: Lia Thomas, Ron DeSantis

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