Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is teaming up with a young woman who competed against Lia Thomas, a biologically male athlete who identifies as a transgender woman, to fight for the integrity of women’s sports.
Paul and University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines sat down for an interview with The Daily Signal on Wednesday afternoon to discuss their new 30-second TV ad, in which Gaines protests against biological males in women’s sports and praises Paul for fighting for “fairness for women and girls.”
“A couple months ago, my wife came to me and said, ‘You have to see this young lady, this young swimmer that’s on television,'” Paul shared with The Daily Signal. “And so we watched the interview with her, talking about her experiences having to swim against a biological men in a woman’s sport. And we were both captivated by her bravery and her willingness to speak out.”
“My wife contacted her and we said, ‘We’d love you to come in and say something about this. We endorse what you’re doing. Will you endorse what we’re doing?’ And so we are happy to endorse what Riley’s been doing, speaking out on this issue. And she was nice enough to endorse my campaign as well.”
Gaines, a 12-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion, first shared her story with me in March after she tied with Thomas in the 200 freestyle on Friday at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships. She has continued to speak out since then, appearing on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and teaming up with the Independent Women’s Forum.
“I know among the athletic community, especially within the swimming community, 95% of people feel the way I do,” Gaines shared with The Daily Signal. “Clearly, I can’t speak for everyone, but there are so many girls across the NCAA who reach out to me and just say, ‘Thank you for doing this. My school won’t let me talk about it. I’m told I’ll never get a job if I speak about this, I’ll never get into grad school.’”
“There are girls in the Ivy League who were sent an email that said, ‘If you feel uncomfortable seeing male genitalia in your locker room, here are some counseling resources you should seek,’” she added. “That is absolutely insane. So not only is this an infringement on women in sports, it’s an infringement on freedom of speech.”
Gaines insisted that these athletes are being “emotionally blackmailed” and intimidated through such messaging.
“I have so many Olympians, celebrities privately messaging me saying, ‘Thank you, I can’t publicly speak out about this, but I applaud what you’re doing.’ And to me, it’s so crazy, as a society, we’re turning our back on majority of the population.”
And it’s not just Republicans who are angry about this issue, she emphasized.
“That’s what makes this issue so special, is that this is something that so many people agree with. There are so many parents who have daughters who don’t want their daughters changing in a locker room with a biological man.”
Both Paul and Gaines decried President Joe Biden’s changes to Title IX, replacing “sex” with “gender” and “gender identity.”
“I think if we’re silent about it, it’s going to become the new norm,” Paul said of the push to include biological males in women’s sports. “So instead of one man on the podium getting an award in a woman’s sport, what if the whole podium is all men? What if men who are college swimmers, like this particular gentleman, decide to swim as women? What if that becomes the new norm? Someone has to speak out about it. It’s just, frankly, not fair.”
Democrats and activists who accuse critics of being transphobic or hateful for pushing back on transgender athletes in women’s sports “don’t want to have the real argument,” Paul said: “whether a grown man should be disrobing in front of women that they don’t know in a locker room against the will of the rest of the women.”
“In any other place in society that man would be arrested,” he said. “But, you know, what with the new norm, you can basically undress in front of women anywhere you want, just say, ‘I identify as a woman,’ go into a women’s locker room, women’s public restroom, any of this. And so I think they don’t want to have that argument to make it all about it.”
There’s a certain segment of the population that is going to be motivated to head to the polls based on this very issue, Paul said. The senator speculated that many of these voters will be moms and dads who have daughters competing in sports—and there will be “people in the middle” who will look at the issue and think, “This just isn’t fair.”
“I think the No. 1 thing I want to convey here that the media hasn’t done a great job of is that Thomas as a male was ranked in the 500s and not even a year later is winning a national title. That’s a huge accomplishment that only an elite few are a part of, that little group,” Gaines says.
“And so I think that right there speaks volumes, that this isn’t transphobic, this is based in science and sports is something that refers to biology,” she continued, adding, “so I wish people would realize that this isn’t something that’s transphobic, it’s something that’s rooted in reason and logic, science, and quite frankly, common sense.”
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