Gov. DeSantis issued a proclamation in support of Florida native Emma Weyant as the ‘rightful winner’ after trans athlete Lia Thomas was declared the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA championship.
Governor DeSantis rejected trans athlete Lia Thomas’ claim to the NCAA’s Division I 500-yard Freestyle championship during which Thomas finished a full second ahead of former Olympian Emma Weyant.
Thomas, who was born Will Thomas, came out as transgender to their family in 2018 and only began transitioning in 2019 and swam for the University of Pennsylvania men’s team until the 2021-2022 season.
Highlighting Weyant’s impressive achievements as both a student and athlete, DeSantis reiterated Florida’s view that allowing individuals who are biologically male to compete against women “perpetuates a fraud against women athletes” and “erodes opportunities for women.”
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.
In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weyant as the best women’s swimmer in the 500y freestyle. pic.twitter.com/tBmFxFE3q6
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 22, 2022
Weyant had previously qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics and won a silver medal in the women’s 400-meter individual medley.
Without pulling any punches, DeSantis set the record straight. “It is my determination that men should not be competing against women such as Emma Weyant, robbing women and girls of achievements, awards, and scholarships,” he said.
The proclamation concludes with DeSantis indicating he felt obligated to protect the fair playing field of Florida-born Weyant who is currently attending school in Virginia “since she is a native Floridian from Sarasota.”
“I, Ron DeSantis, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby declare in Florida that Emma Weyant is the rightful winner of the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Women’s 500-yard Freestyle, congratulate her on yet another significant achievement, and express pride that she is a Florida resident.”