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NCAA Swimmer Lia Thomas Speaks Out for Trans Inclusion in Title IX

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Ash Orr (they/he)

Washington, DC - With the end of the public comment period quickly approaching, former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas – the first transgender athlete to become an NCAA Division 1 champion – has joined the Let Us Play campaign to urge the public to support transgender, non-binary, and intersex students in school sports. In a video, Thomas said:  

“I started swimming when I was five years old. It has taught me so much. It has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow, develop, and connect with my peers. Opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t have access to athletics. That’s why it breaks my heart to see trans kids across the country lose out on these opportunities.” 

Thomas encouraged the public to “urge the Biden administration to amend the rule” and “grant equal protection for all transgender kids.” Since entering the national spotlight, Thomas has been repeatedly targeted for harassment from extremists, who continue to twist her story to attack free and equal transgender participation in athletics – even after her college swimming career concluded.  

She went on to say “this [draft Title IX] rule is a good start, but it is not enough. During this time of intense anti-trans backlash, the trans community needs explicit protections from discrimination in order to live our lives freely and equally.” 

"We're grateful that Lia Thomas lent her voice to the Let Us Play campaign,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “As Lia put it, no child should ever have to compromise on who they are just to be included. Together, we can ensure that every young person, including those who are transgender or intersex, can pursue their athletic dreams and reach their full potential. There is still time to join the Let Us Play movement and help make a difference in the lives of countless transgender and intersex young athletes across the nation.”   

The Let Us Play campaign is collecting public comments until May 15 in response to the recently proposed regulation by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the requirement for inclusion of transgender, non-binary, and intersex students in school sports under Title IX. Organized by the National Center for Transgender Equality, in partnership with Athlete Ally, the GenderCool Project, InterACT, GLSEN, National Education Association, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and TransAthlete, the Let Us Play campaign calls on the community to submit public comments to advocate for full inclusion for transgender, nonbinary, and intersex youth in sports. 


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