Lia Thomas Seeking Legal Avenues To Overturn Regulations On Male Swimmers Competing With Women, Has Eyes Set On Olympics: Report
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 17: Transgender woman Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania talks to a reporter after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Trans-identifying swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male who competed on UPenn’s women’s swimming team, has mounted a legal challenge in hopes of reversing regulations placed on men competing in women’s swimming with his eyes set on the Olympics, according to a report from The Telegraph.

Thomas hired Canadian law firm Tyr and asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland to reverse World Aquatics’ recent rule changes barring trans-identifying men from competing in women’s swimming if they have gone through “any part of male puberty,” The Telegraph reported. World Aquatics, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, introduced the new rules regarding trans-identifying swimmers shortly after Thomas won the NCAA Division 1 championship in the 500-yard freestyle, and Thomas has not competed since 2022 when those rules were put in place.

“Trans women are particularly vulnerable in society and they suffer from higher rates of violence, abuse and harassment than cis women,” Thomas’ lawyer Carlos Sayao said. “Lia has now had the door closed to her in terms of her future ability to practice her sport and compete at the highest level.”

Sayao added that Thomas is “bringing the case for herself and other trans women to ensure that any rules for trans women’s participation in sport are fair, proportionate and grounded in human rights and in science.”

World Aquatics later said it would add an “open category” allowing trans-identifying swimmers, such as Thomas, to still compete. Only a month before the World Aquatics instituted its new rules regarding trans-identifying swimmers, Thomas told “Good Morning America” that he was hoping to try out for the U.S. Olympic team.

“It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time, and I would love to see that through,” he said.

Weeks before Thomas took home a Division 1 swimming title, USA Swimming passed new regulations on trans-identifying men competing in women’s swimming that critics said didn’t go far enough. The regulations passed by USA Swimming simply set up regular monitoring of testosterone levels instead of implementing any sort of outright ban on men swimming against women.

Thomas’ NCAA championship sparked nationwide backlash against men competing in women’s sports as some of Thomas’ former teammates and opponents spoke out about the humiliation of sharing a locker room and pool with a biological man. Women like Paula Scanlan, one of Thomas’ former teammates, and Riley Gaines, an SEC-champion swimmer who tied with Thomas in the NCAA finals, are actively speaking out in support of keeping female sports for women and girls only.


Thomas initially brought his case before the tribunal last September, but World Aquatics asked for it to be dismissed because Thomas had not submitted himself to USA Swimming’s jurisdiction, according to The Telegraph. Thomas’ case before the CAS is unlikely to be heard before USA Swimming hosts its trials for the 2024 Olympics in June.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Lia Thomas Seeking Legal Avenues To Overturn Regulations On Male Swimmers Competing With Women, Has Eyes Set On Olympics: Report