Opponent Of Trans Athletes In Women’s Sports To Speak At UW
Riley Gaines, a noted advocate for barring trans athletes from playing women's sports, is scheduled to speak at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday evening.
Gaines is a former collegiate swimmer who competed for the University of Kentucky. Among other honors, she was the 2022 Southeast Conference Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year.
She is now the Director of the Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute. She's a highly controversial figure, with opponents calling her a bigot who is on a crusade to target trans athletes unfairly.
She argues that trans athletes who were born as males have unfair advantages in terms of size, strength, and bone density versus those born as females. Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union, vehemently disagree with those arguments.
Gaines says she's fine with trans athletes competing against each other, just not in women's sports competitions.
In an interview on the ''Weekend in Wyoming" program on KGAB radio on Saturday, Gaines said she founded the Riley Gaines Center after hearing widespread comments from female athletes, coaches, parents, and others saying they privately support her, but can't say so publicly because of repercussions from sponsors or employers. She says the center is "Really just a way to inspire, encourage, and inspire leaders because I think we need more of those."
You can hear the entire interview in the audio file attached to this article [below].
Gaines said her activism on the issue was sparked in part by her experience competing against trans athlete Lia Thomas. Thomas became the first openly trans athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 national championship title in 2022, taking the 500-yard freestyle event.
Gaines said Thomas swam for three years on the University of Pennsylvania men's team before switching to competing in women's swimming. ''I saw what an injustice this was to myself and my teammates and my competitors who had worked our entire lives to get to that national championship, only to have that hard work stripped from us. And our titles, our scholarships, our opportunities taken and given away to a male who ranked 462 the year prior" when competing in men's swimming.
You can hear the entire Riley Gaines interview on KGAB below.
Here is a video from Kentucky Wildcats TV of Gaines' win in the 2022 SEC 200 freestyle competition:
Nightmare on Arapaho Street
Gallery Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media Laramie/Cheyenne