WATCH: Riley Gaines Defends Women's Sports, Calls out Lia Thomas 'Mansplaining What It Is to Be a Feminist' in Senate Hearing

Riley Gaines testifies before Senate committee (6/21/23). (Credit: Twitter/Josh Hawley)

For anyone who might still be on the fence about biological men competing in women’s sports, the testimony on Wednesday of former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines should leave little doubt as to how outrageously unfair the practice is. Gaines kicked off a Senate Committee hearing on “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.” Gaines began her opening statement recalling how she competed against transgender woman Lia Thomas, formerly William Thomas, and tied for fifth place in the 200-yard NCAA Freestyle championship race. As a male swimmer, Thomas ranked 554th in the men’s 200 freestyle. Competing against women, Thomas finished fifth, first, and eighth in the 200, 500, and 1650 freestyles. Gaines also went on to describe that, even though the race had ended in a tie with Thomas, Gaines was forced to give Thomas the trophy — something she had worked most of her life for — for what the NCAA admitted was for photo ops. She stated:


Having only one trophy, the NCAA handed it to Thomas and told me I had to go home empty-handed. And when I asked why – which was not a question they were prepared to be asked – I actually appreciate their honesty because they said it was crucial Thomas had it for picture purposes. Thomas had to have it for the pictures. I felt betrayed. I felt belittled. I felt reduced to a photo-op. But my feelings didn’t matter. What mattered to the NCAA was the feelings of a biological male.

Gaines also cited Title IX guidelines and stated that “to displace female athletes in the pool and on the podium,” the governing body for elite college athletes “intentionally and explicitly discriminated on the basis of sex.”Gaines’ testimony became even more compelling as she related the experience of having to share a locker room with someone who was obviously a male, and she and her teammates having no forewarning that this would be occurring. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said:

You were talking about, just the incredible surprise, shall I say to put it gently, of finding a biological man, a six foot four biological man, in your locker room, and having to accept that without being asked about it, without being told about it. What was that like for you? Tell us about that.


It was here that Gaines said that she went to an official on the pool deck and asked about guidelines for males in female locker rooms. She described the official as being “very nonchalant” about the situation and even bragging about getting around guidelines and changing rules for swimmers like Thomas by making locker rooms unisex. Gaines pointed out that by doing so, any male, be it someone who claims to be transgender or otherwise, could enter a female locker room with no warning. Gaines spoke of how it appeared incredibly easy for officials to immediately dismiss female swimmers’ right to privacy. Gaines called this “traumatizing.”

Yet Thomas has the audacity to criticize Gaines, and Gaines had a fiery response to that criticism:

Gaines then addressed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il), who, in his opening statement, had used the word “rhetoric,” and what kind of message was being sent to trans individuals. Because this experience has made Riley Gaines a fierce advocate for female athletes, she shot back with,


What kind of message does it send to women, to young girls, denied of these opportunities, so easily their rights to privacy and safety thrown out the window, to protect a small population, protect one group as they’re happy? What about us? That is the general consensus of how we all felt in that locker room.

But Democrats and the left are desperate to hang on to the idea that there is no difference between men and women when it comes to sports. Also testifying was Kelly Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBTQ+ rights groups in the nation. When asked by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) if she believes that men have a physical advantage over women, she declared that not to be a “definitive statement.” She then went on to reference an article about men who tried to beat tennis star Serena Williams but could not, saying of Williams, “She is stronger than them.” Riley Gaines quickly mic-dropped Robinson saying, “Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd-ranked male tennis player.”


The party that claims to be the champion of women is now actively involved in not only erasing women’s sports and Title IX, giving a middle finger to all of the women who worked hard to see Title IX be a protection for women’s sports, but essentially erasing women. Speculation on the reasons why the absolute protection at all costs for such a small group of people could be the old stand by of wanting a reliable voting bloc, to just about anything else. We must remember, though, that not only are Democrats the “party of women,” they are also the “party of science.”


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