Twelve-time NCAA All-American college swimmer Riley Gaines questioned, “Where are the feminists?” when she was forced to compete against a male athlete who said he was a transgender woman. He was “leading the country by body lengths” in swim competitions, leaving his female competitors behind.
“Our equal opportunities, our dignity, our mental health, all of the different things, our feelings—the words they [those on the Left] love to use—that doesn’t matter,” Gaines told Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on “The Kevin Roberts Show” podcast. “What matters to them is protecting the feelings of a male, even if it means we [women] become collateral damage in the process, which we most certainly have.”
Gaines was swimming for the University of Kentucky when she competed against Lia Thomas, formerly Will Thomas, in the 200-meter freestyle. But the NCAA told her teammates and her that Thomas’ swimming was “non-negotiable.”
“We felt violated. We felt humiliated. We felt betrayed. We felt belittled,” she said.
Gaines and Thomas ended up tying, but there was only one trophy, so they gave it to Thomas because they said it would look good for photos, Gaines recalled.
“It wasn’t until they really reduced everything that we had worked our entire lives for down to a photo-op to validate the feelings and the identity of a male. It wasn’t until that, ultimately, I realized I was done waiting,” Gaines said.
Gaines had plans to go to dental school once she graduated, but after tying to the hundredth of a second, she has made advocating for women’s fairness in sports her full-time job. “This is how I know God has His hand on it,” said Gaines.
She said she frequently talks to people who support her but can’t speak out because of fear they could lose their jobs. But she said to remember “we are in the overwhelming majority. Again, if you just saw how politicians voted, you wouldn’t think so, but we are. Even the overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party knows this is wrong,” she said.
“If we want a change, you have to use your voice. We have to let people know as a group that a majority of us female athletes—or females in general—are not OK with this,” she declared.
“We have an administration in the White House right now, who is changing Title IX to where it’s no longer preventing discrimination on the basis of sex, it’s preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity,” the All-American said.
“This means men can join sororities. This means men will have full access to bathrooms, locker rooms, changing spaces. This means men could take academic and athletic scholarships away from women. Men can live in dorm rooms with women. So, it’s bigger than just women’s sports.”
Gaines said her faith is what has kept her grounded. People will direct personal attacks and “negative comments” toward her. But she realized, “Why would I want to please those people? We have an audience of one [God]. … That’s who we should be looking to please.”
“I avidly want to stand for the truth in whatever capacity that is, whatever topic that is. There is one objective truth,” she said. “There is one biblical truth. The Left, they love this language of ‘speak your truth.’ OK: There’s one truth.”
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