Riley Gaines came prepared to Wednesday’s Capitol Hill hearing on men playing in women’s sports.
When a Democrat witness claimed that men falsely “think they beat Serena Williams in tennis,” Gaines, a 12-time All-American NCAA swimmer, shot down her argument.
“Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd-ranked male tennis player,” she said.
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Gaines delivered an emotional testimony during the Senate hearing titled, “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans,” telling Senators she and her fellow females did not consent to changing in a locker room with a biological man nor were they forewarned about it.
She said the NCAA gave Lia Thomas, the penis-bearing swimmer who tied with Gaines, preferential treatment.
“Having only one trophy, the NCAA handed it to Thomas and told me I had to go home empty-handed,” Gaines explained. “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.”
The former University of Kentucky star athlete accused the NCAA of violating Title IX for discriminating based on sex.
“But that is not all. In addition to being forced to give up our awards and our titles and our opportunities, the NCAA forced me and my female swimmers to share a locker room with Thomas,” Gaines said. “A 6-foot-4, 22-year-old male equipped with and exposed male genitalia. Let me be clear about this – we were not forewarned we would be sharing a locker room. No one asked for our consent and we did not give our consent.”
Gaines concluded that women who’ve worked their entire lives to compete without having the biological advantages of men were “threatened, intimidated, and emotionally blackmailed into silence and submission.”