Did NBC Today Airbrush Photo of Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas? Image Allegedly Made to 'Look Feminine'

NBC Today show was mired in controversy for allegedly airbrushing an image of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas who recently won an event at NCAA Championships.

The said image was taken when University of Pennsylvania student Lia Thomas was competing in the NCAA Championships.

lia Thomas
Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania. Twitter

Twitter users were quick to notice the difference between the images and criticized NBC for its apparent doctoring of the image. The issue kick-started a debate wherein users from all age groups have flooded the social media with their respective viewpoints.

Female Swimmer Slams NCAA For Faulty Rules

It is pertinent to mention that Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy in a recent open letter to NCAA had slammed the association for its rules that allow transgender players to compete with women.

Gyorgy missed out on competing in the finals of 500 freestyle at the NCAA competitions as the Transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas finished with a 4:33.82 in the preliminaries.

As a result, Gyorgy missed the cut-off to get into the consolation final and finished at 17th place. At the same time Lia Thomas went on to win the final race in the tournament with a time of 4:33.24.

As has been reported by cross section of media, there is more to the story as Lia Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA title in the women's 500-yard freestyle at the weekend. Biologically born as a male, she transitioned to female in 2019. Ever since her transition, she is on a hormone replacement therapy.

Going by the NCAA norms, it is mandatory that transgender athletes must have been taking hormones for a minimum of 1 year prior to competing, which was exactly so in Thomas's case.

As reported, the supporters of women's sport argue that even after hormone replacement, the physical advantages of experiencing male puberty cannot be downplayed.

Most importantly, before 2019, Thomas had competed in male races, placing 554th as male. NBC's alleged attempt to airbrush Lia Thomas's photograph clearly indicates towards the intention of the news outlet of making her look more "feminine" and has put a question mark on the act.

A Twitter user wrote, "NBC News airbrushes photo of trans UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas ... Because NBC thinks men are better at being women."

Another user criticised the act stating, " #Louisiana @KNOE8@KALBtv5 NBC airbrushes photo NBC was caught last week heavily airbrushing a photograph of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to make her look less manly, explains LESTER Dolts looks."

This article was first published on March 23, 2022