Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines is promoting a “Women’s Bill of Rights” in response to transgender athletes who identify as female being able to compete in women’s sports.
Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer, was on her way to winning a national title at the NCAA swimming championship in 2022 when she tied with a female-identifying, transgender athlete, Lia Thomas, who was born a biological male.
During a recent interview on MidDays with Gerard Gibert, Gaines accused an NCAA official of granting Thomas the championship trophy, despite the fact that the two tied the race, for optics purposes.
“I knew what was happening was wrong in regards to the unfair competition, in regards to being forced to change next to a fully exposed and fully intact male. I knew that was wrong,” Gaines continued. “But when he reduced what I had worked my whole life to accomplish down to a photo-op to affirm the identity of a male, that’s when I truthfully had had enough. That’s when I realized I was done waiting for someone else to speak out about it.”
After the season, Gaines was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. However, she noticed that Lia Thomas and other transgender athletes were also being considered for the accolade, which led Gaines to argue that the NCAA is violating Title IX laws by discriminating against biological females.
“I garnered a petition with nearly 10 thousand signatures and handed it directly to the NCAA as well as presenting them with a legal demand letter that told them there will be legal action if they don’t stop discriminating on the basis of sex,” Gaines added.
The All-American swimmer believes that women’s sports are in jeopardy of being overtaken and dominated by transgender athletes who were born male if laws are not passed to codify the definition of a woman and protect single-sex spaces.
“I think it’s crucial that we pass as many fairness in women’s sports bills at the state level as possible,” Gains said. “Mississippi is ahead of the curve which is phenomenal. There’s about 18 to 20 states that have passed this, Mississippi being one.”
In 2021, Governor Tate Reeves signed the “Mississippi Fairness Act” into law, barring transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports in the Magnolia State.
Watch the full interview with Gaines below.