Riley Gaines opened up about her discomfort of undressing in front of University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas at a meet last year. The women’s sports advocate is urging the NCAA to establish separate locker rooms for transgender athletes who are competing in female sports.
As reported by Fox News, in an interview, Gaines called upon the NCAA to ensure her demand is upheld by recollecting the discomfort she faced when Lia Thomas ‘male genitalia was exposed to her after the meet in the locker room.Later, she said, “We were not forewarned beforehand that we would be sharing a locker room with Lia. We did not give our consent, they did not ask for our consent, but in that locker room we turned around, and there’s a 6’4” biological man dropping his pants and watching us undress, and we were exposed to male genitalia.”
Lia Thomas had reportedly just started taking her hormone replacement therapy. However, she had not undergone the sex change surgery, which meant that she would still retain some features from her biological sex. As per Gaines, when the incident of Thomas exposing her male genitals took place, there was no consent from the other women in the locker room. This, as Gaines says, would count as sexual assault if this incident had taken place a few years prior.
Gaines further says, “That to me was worse than the competition piece. Not even probably a year, two years ago, this would have been considered some form of sexual assault, voyeurism. But now not even are they just allowing it to happen, it’s almost as if these large organizations are encouraging it to happen.”
Gaines had to face Thomas, a biological male by birth, in the NCAA championships last year. A spokesperson for the Independent Women’s Forum, she believes that the athletic body failed to uphold the integrity of women’s sports by allowing the participation of transgender female athletes.
Gaines feels that the NCAA is deliberately encouraging biological males to participate in women’s tournaments. She says, “Of course, after NCAA championships, the NCAA then nominated Thomas for NCAA Woman of the Year, so we [they] are celebrating this movement. This is not something that happened by chance on a one-off basis. They are encouraging [biological] men to compete in women’s sports.”The call for transgender athletes, especially women, to not participate in female sports has also been popularly reiterated by former US President Donald Trump. Trump looks to return to the White House by participating in the 2024 elections.
However, Trump has a rather discriminative and robust suit prepared against transgender athletes, especially for female sports. He promises his supporters that when he comes to power, there will be only two genders- biological male and biological female.
Trump had also called out Lia Thomas recently last week and had constantly misgendered her while accusing her of falsely orchestrating her 11-year-old swimming record.