Trans controversy as Lia Thomas rival makes preferential treatment allegation - 'I knew I was done'

Lia Thomas swimming

Lia Thomas has caused controversy in swimming due to being trans

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 13/09/2023

- 11:37

Updated: 14/09/2023

- 15:09

The 24-year-old has caused controversy in the swimming world

NCAA champion swimmer Riley Gaines has claimed Lia Thomas was given preferential treatment when it came to posing with a trophy for a photoshoot.

Thomas has caused controversy by competing against women, despite being a biological male.

Gaines had to compete with the 24-year-old and, in recent months, has regularly spoken about the issue.

Now, in an interview with The National Desk, she's criticised the decision to allow Thomas to compete.

And she also said that Thomas was allowed to pose with a trophy, instead of herself, for a photoshoot.

"So like most athletes, I trained my entire life to reach the pinnacle of my sport, which is the National Championships it's the fastest meet in the world," she said.

"And so I had reached that point and I was competing for a national title, which would of course mean the fastest female in the country.

"And I was right on pace to achieve that until the NCAA allowed a six foot four male who competed three years on the men's team at the University of Pennsylvania to compete with the women and their words were it's nonnegotiable."

Gaines believes Thomas cost her a spot on the women's national team.

There have been reports saying she has settled a lawsuit with Thomas for $1.2 million.

Fact-checkers have denied that, however.

Gaines has also claimed that, though she and Thomas finished level in their swimming race, tournament organisers gave the trans star preferential treatment.

"When they reduce everything we had worked our entire lives for down to a photo op. I knew I was done waiting for someone else to stick up for us," she said.

Just last month, Gaines was asked about Thomas and the 24-year-old's genitalia.

"I was trying to run away from this question," she started by saying.

"6-foot-4 male. Use your imagination."

She added: "We can't unsee it. Being in that space with a male, it's like a bad car wreck."

And Gaines also made it clear she has an issue with trans women being referred to as 'women', insisting they are 'a subset of male'.

"I think even using the term trans woman is giving Thomas some of our language as women," she continued.

"I think trans woman is a subset of male. I do not believe trans women are women."

And Gaines also says America needs 'more masculine men' in a world when TikTokers like Dylan Mulvaney are so popular.

"That's the last time we had strong men," she said, referring to the second World War.

"Think about this, 1940s, World War II. Men lied about their age to get in to enlist.


Lia Thomas trans

Lia Thomas has the backing of trans supporters amid swimming controversy


"Now, in 2023, we have men lying about their sex to get into women's sports or women's prisons or domestic shelters or sororities or bathrooms, locker rooms."

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