Former college swimmer Riley Gaines has become an outspoken critic of transgender athletes competing against athletes of their chosen sex after her experiences racing against Lia Thomas.
In recent months, Gaines has been touring college campuses speaking out against transgender athletes, and fighting to keep a separation between genders when it comes to competition regardless of sport or conditions.
Gaines has often been called transphobic for her views and what she says. However, she refutes that notion, though through her explanation she also kinda accepts the label.
“It just cracks me up. To anyone who calls me a ‘transphobe’ — that word has literally no weight, no meaning, when you throw it around for my message here. There’s man, there’s woman, you can’t change your sex. If that makes me a transphobe, so be it,” she said, via the Fresno Bee.
Gaines added that her faith drives a lot of how she sees the world and this issue.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention as a Christian myself, I entirely see this as spiritual warfare,” she said.
Gaines added that she believes that most female athletes share her ideology on the issue.
“I don’t claim to speak for every single female athlete on that pool deck. But I do claim to speak for the overwhelming majority of us, because I can wholeheartedly attest to the tears that I saw from the girls who . . . missed out on being named All-American (athletes) by one place.
“And, of course, the tears from the moms in the stands watching as their daughters were being obliterated in the sport that they once loved. And I can wholeheartedly attest to the extreme discomfort in the locker room when you turn around, and there’s a 6’4, 22-year-old man fully intact exposing male genitalia inches away from where you were simultaneously undressing.”
Some have questioned the intense backlash against transgender athletes given the small number of instances and athletes that the issue concerns.