Florida GOP’s Christian Ziegler rallies party after trans woman wins national swimming title
University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is the center of controversy. Image via AP.

Lia Thomas
Lia Thomas defeated Emma Weyant, who hails from Sarasota, prompting Ziegler's pushback.

Christian Ziegler, the vice-chair of the Republican Party of Florida, sent out a message to supporters Friday decrying a historic win by a collegiate transgender swimmer.

The current Sarasota County Commissioner suggested Emma Weyant, a University of Virginia swimmer hailing from his home county, was “robbed on national TV last night.” That’s after Lia Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania swimmer, became the first transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship swimming championship and the second to win a championship in any sport across all divisions, according to OutSports.

Thomas’ win in the women’s 500-yard competition Thursday night led to a charged-up email from Ziegler.

“Emma — an Olympic Silver Medalist Swimmer — currently attends the University of Virginia where last night she was awarded the 2nd place trophy in the NCAA D-1 WOMENS National Championship 500 Freestyle Event, even though she was the FIRST & FASTEST FEMALE to finish,” Ziegler wrote.

Thomas beat Weyant by 1.75 seconds. But Thomas was more than 9 seconds off Katie Ledecky’s world record time in the event.

Thomas’ performance has been heralded by LGBTQ activists but derided by conservatives. At the race, protesters raised a “Save Women’s Swimming” banner.

Ziegler refused to call Thomas a woman while referencing her.

“The NCAA allowed a MALE — who research shows was no better ranked than 400th in male swimming — to compete in a WOMENS Championship Meet. And he ended up swimming faster than every other girl last night,” he wrote. “Beyond sham. This is sad, gross, ridiculous, shameful and infuriating.”

For Weyant’s part, she shook Thomas’ hand in the water and congratulated her on her win, Newsweek reports.

Florida in 2021 passed and implemented a ban on transgender women competing in women’s sports in scholastic competitions in the state, despite the NCAA allowing the women to compete.

Ziegler wrote that Republicans need to “watch for this issue as elections approach and demand to hear concrete positions on this issue.”

“As the father of 3 young girls — 2 of which are playing sports — this is the hill I am willing to die on. Which is why I won’t sit back and be silent as women watch their opportunity to compete and win in sports be eliminated.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Don Gallardo

    March 18, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    Formerly male athletes and swimmers competing as “transgender” LGBTQs against female athletes and swimmers effectively kills all of Title IX gains. Was the transgender athlete/swimmer tested for testosterone levels as they did in Track & Field? Will unremarkable male soccer players now switch to transgender/LGBTQ classification to be able to compete in Women’s Soccer?

    • Tomb man

      March 19, 2022 at 3:33 am

      Guess those swimmers that lost were republicans.

      Looking like a COVID 19 score card up in here Lol

      • Charlotte Greenbarg

        March 19, 2022 at 4:01 pm

        What a jack ass far left rant. Your brain’s been one step too far?🤡

        • I see tears

          March 20, 2022 at 9:46 am

          Hey man don’t be so upset.

          Not the swimmers fault Republicans are only good at things involving shooting sports and political runnings. Must have been his little girl

          Take it like a man lol

  • Ron

    March 18, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Howcum we never hear about formerly female nose tackles? More importantly when will we? Equality, after all.

  • Tom J Matrullo

    March 20, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    I’m not sure – did Mr. Ziegler “rally” his party, or embarrass it? Apparently in his universe, there are only Men and women. The complexity of gender, of life itself, is flushed down the Ziegler toilet so he can offer this crybaby rant, worthy of losers.

Comments are closed.


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