Speed Reads

adding fuel to the fire

Ron DeSantis issues proclamation rejecting Lia Thomas' victory in NCAA swim event

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Tuesday that Florida does not recognize transgender swimmer Lia Thomas' victory in the NCAA 500-yard women's freestyle event last Thursday, and is instead declaring Sarasota native and runner-up Emma Weyant the "rightful winner" in his state, the Miami Herald and Sarasota Herald-Tribune report.

DeSantis' reportedly unprompted remarks came during an unrelated news conference, as well as in the form of a proclamation shared on Twitter.

"We need to stop allowing organizations like the NCAA to perpetuate frauds on the public, and that's exactly what they're doing," DeSantis said during the presser, per the Miami Herald.

Thomas, a transgender woman competing for the University of Pennsylvania, has been the subject of online debate since defeating Weyant, an Olympic silver medalist and University of Virginia athlete. The victory has furthered a larger controversy about whether transgender women should be allowed to compete in women's sports, due to what some — particularly conservatives — believe is an unfair advantage.

"By allowing men to compete in women's sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud," DeSantis wrote on Twitter. "In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota's Emma Weyant as the best women's swimmer in the 500y freestyle."

As a transgender woman, Thomas does not identify as a man

Last year, DeSantis, who is a suspected contender for the 2024 presidential race, signed into law a bill forbidding transgender women and girls from participating in women and girls' sports, the Miami Herald notes. A number of states have also adopted similar policies.

Florida has also come under fire for a new piece of legislation critics are calling the "Don't Say Gay" bill for how it handles LGBTQ matters in classrooms.