Female swimmers concerned over males in locker room offered ‘education on oppression’

Twelve time NCCA All-American swimmer Riley Gaines has spoken out about the reaction to Ivy League female swimmers expressing concern over the presence of biological males using female locker rooms. 

Speaking on Capitol Hill to mark the United States’ National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Gaines said that female swimmers had been offered counselling to help them deal with their distress at seeing male genitalia, and had been referred to an ‘LGBTQ education centre’ to “educate themselves on the oppression” that trans athletes are facing. 

The 5 time SEC ​Champion and record holder, who has qualified for the Olympics twice, said that nobody had asked female swimmers like herself how they felt about the situation, saying that she felt that “we exist to validate a male’s identity”. 

Gains continued that “no one” within the NCCA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) was willing to acknowledge the “feelings”, “safety”, or “privacy” concerns faced by female athletes. 

She added that in the last few weeks she has begun to get “emotional” saying that it is “so wild” that you can “turn around and see a 6’4 biological man pull his pants down watching you undress”. 


In an article written for Fox News, Gains said, “Sport is a powerful platform to empower girls and women, but this National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I don’t feel empowered. I feel betrayed, belittled, and excluded from proper recognition. We should not have to add the term “biological” in front of the word women to address differences in performance and our separate categories.”



Gains, who has herself competed against trans athlete Lia Thomas, criticised the NCCA for allowing biological males to compete against women in professional swimming saying, “”Unfortunately, the women’s sporting category is today being eroded by discriminatory policies that allow males who identify as women to compete on women’s teams and in women’s events.”

The physical advantage over female swimmers of the self confessed ‘trans woman’ has been described as seeing Thomas “soar from a mid-500s ranking (554th in the 200 freestyle; all divisions) in men’s competition to one of the top-ranked swimmers in women’s competition”. 

Thomas is 185 cm in height and swam for the men’s team at Pennsylvania University from 2017 – 2020 before joining the women’s team from 2020 – 2021. In March 2022 he became the first transgender person to win an NCAA Division I national championship in any sport, after beating female swimmers at the women’s 500-yard freestyle event.

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