Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer who won the NCAA Division I women’s championship in 2022, has stirred up controversy again after a photo of her wearing an “Antifa Super Soldier” shirt was posted on social media.
Who is Lia Thomas?
Lia Thomas is a biological male who identifies as female and competes in women’s swimming for the University of Pennsylvania. She transitioned in 2020 and began dominating her female opponents by large margins, breaking several records and winning the national title in the 500-yard freestyle in 2022.
Her success has sparked a heated debate about whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete against cisgender women, who have not gone through male puberty and have different physical advantages. Many of her rivals and critics have accused her of being unfair, disrespectful and narcissistic, while others have defended her right to participate according to her gender identity.
What is Antifa?
Antifa is a loosely organized movement of anti-fascist activists who oppose neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right groups. They often use violent tactics such as vandalism, arson and assault to confront their enemies and disrupt their events. They have been involved in clashes with police and pro-Trump supporters in various cities across the US.
Antifa has no official leadership or structure, but some of its members identify themselves with symbols such as black clothing, masks and flags. They also use slogans such as “No platform for fascism” and “Punch a Nazi”.
What is Trantifa?
Trantifa is a term coined by conservative journalist Andy Ngo to describe the militant nature of some transgender activists, who act with or in a similar style to Antifa. According to Ngo, they believe that critics of trans ideology should be silenced, maimed or murdered, and that some call for sexual violence against females in particular, as revenge.
Ngo posted a screenshot of an Instagram photo allegedly showing Lia Thomas wearing an all-black outfit that included a BDSM leather harness and a shirt reading “Antifa Super Soldier”. He claimed that Thomas has embraced the Trantifa branding and that trans violent militancy is the current focus of Antifa.
What are the reactions?
The photo of Thomas wearing the Antifa shirt has gone viral on social media, generating more than 2.3 million views on Twitter. It has also attracted backlash from some of her former opponents and outspoken advocates for the protection of female sports.
Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who competed against Thomas, tweeted that the photo was “disturbing” and that it made “so much sense”. She said that she had not bashed Thomas on anything other than calling him an entitled narcissist, but that he was following the rules in place.
Other users expressed their disgust, anger and disbelief at Thomas’s apparent support for Antifa and Trantifa. Some called her a terrorist, a traitor and a threat to women’s rights. Some also questioned her mental health and gender identity.
However, some users also defended Thomas and criticized Ngo for spreading misinformation and hate. They argued that the photo was taken out of context and that it was not proof of Thomas being violent or militant. They also accused Ngo of being biased, transphobic and sensationalist.
Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas wears ANTIFA T-shirt, signalling the biological males support for the violent extremist group.
The shirt reads ‘Antifa Super Soldier.’
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) July 17, 2023
So it turns out that the loser, Lia Thomas who keeps stealing medals from women is also an "Antifa super soldier" pic.twitter.com/CYMKPOGyt4
— I Meme Therefore I Am 🇺🇸 (@ImMeme0) July 17, 2023
Here are some Twitter comments on Lia Thomas’s photo:
- @MrAndyNgo: #Trans swimmer Lia Thomas, formerly William Thomas, has now embraced the #Trantifa branding in new photos posted on social media. Trans violent militancy is the current focus of #Antifa. They believe that critics of trans ideology should be silenced, maimed or murdered. Some…
- @libsoftiktok: Domestic terrorist
- @jimmyjames38: This is a man who is taking advantage of the rules to beat women in swimming. He is not a woman. He is an enemy of women.
- @KatiePavlich: This is so disappointing and sad.
- @RealCandaceO: This person is mentally ill and needs help, not applause.
- @TuckerCarlson: Lia Thomas is not a hero, she is a fraud. She is exploiting a loophole in the law to dominate a sport that she has no business competing in. She is destroying the dreams of real female athletes who have worked hard to achieve their goals. She is a disgrace to the sport and to the country.
What are the implications?
The photo of Thomas wearing the Antifa shirt has added fuel to the fire of the ongoing controversy over transgender athletes in women’s sports. It has also raised questions about the role and influence of Antifa and Trantifa in the US society and politics.
The photo could potentially affect Thomas’s reputation, career and legal status. She could face backlash from her sponsors, teammates and fans. She could also face legal challenges from her opponents who are suing to ban her from competing against women. She could also face scrutiny from law enforcement agencies who are investigating Antifa-related activities.
The photo could also have an impact on the public perception and acceptance of transgender people in general. It could reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices about them being violent, radical and mentally unstable. It could also undermine their efforts to gain recognition, respect and rights.
The photo could also spark more debate and dialogue about the issues of gender identity, biological sex, fairness, diversity and inclusion in sports and society. It could challenge people to examine their own views and values on these topics. It could also inspire people to seek more information and understanding about them.
Lia Thomas is a transgender swimmer who has become a controversial figure after winning the NCAA Division I women’s championship in 2022. She has recently been photographed wearing an Antifa Super Soldier shirt, which has sparked more debate about her participation in women’s sports and her affiliation with Antifa and Trantifa. The photo has generated various reactions from her supporters and critics, and has implications for her future and for the transgender community at large.