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Florida Transgender Olympian Reacts To NCAA Women's 500-Yard Freestyle Competition

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A local transgender olympian is reacting after Governor Ron DeSantis proclaimed a Sarasota swimmer, who came in second to a transgender woman in the NCAA swimming competition, as the quote "rightful winner."

Chelsea Wolfe is a transgender BMX olympian, representing the United States, and she's talking about Governor Ron DeSantis's proclamation on Tuesday.

"My reaction to his proclamation is just disgust and pity that he has to deny the reality of the world around him to be comfortable with the complexity of life," said Wolfe.

"They're crowning somebody else the women's champion and we think that's wrong," said Governor DeSantis.

Last week, Emma Weyant, a Sarasota native, placed second in the NCAA women's 500 yard freestyle swimming competition, losing to Lia Thomas, who became the first transgender in any sport to win a NCAA division one championship.

"You look at what the NCAA has done by allowing basically men to compete in women's athletics," said DeSantis.

DeSantis signed this proclamation last week, naming Weyant the winner in the state of Florida.

"I can't imagine how damaging that must be for young trans people who are just trying to make it in a world that's already so structured against them," said Wolfe.

DeSantis says transgender women have physical advantages in athletic competitions.

"If anything, we face a lot more disadvantages due to the social aspects we have to overcome," Wolfe.

Wolfe says in order to swim in the NCAA right now, a transgender women must undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression that is monitored regularly, but that could soon shift to three years. Wolfe says training for competition while also dealing with your body changing is not easy.

"It completely changes everything. It's almost like you're switching from a Mac to a PC or vice versa, mentally, physically, the changes that it makes your body and your mind go through are truly remarkable," said Wolfe.

DeSantis called the NCAA's decision to announce Thomas as the winner, fraud...something Wolfe says is hard to hear.

"They are putting ideology ahead of opportunity for women athletes," said DeSantis.

"Denying her victory even when she's in compliance with all of the rules and going above and behind to ensure a level playing field, is quite pitiful," said Wolfe.

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