Yahoo News reports that Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer, protested the inclusion of male-to-female transgender athletes in sports other than the NCAA convention. She also handed over a petition and threatened legal action.
Gaines, who was known for her outrage against Lia Thomas’ transgender swimsuit, was at the forefront of the group that included two dozen demonstrators.
Gaines stated, “Today we will personally tell the NCAA not to discriminate against female athletes by handing over a petition we have gathered nearly 10,000 signatures on within a matter of days.”
Marshi Smith, a former NCAA athlete and cofounder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, was also present. Smith described the demands of the council and sent them in a letter to NCAA’s legal team.
The letter reads:
“To avoid legal action, the NCAA must comply with civil rights law immediately by”:
Repealing all policies and rules that allow male athletes to take roster spots on women’s teams and/or compete in women’s events;
Establishing and enforcing rules to keep women’s sports female;
Requiring colleges to provide single-sex locker rooms for female athletes.”
Another speaker was a student at a high school who claimed she was suspended after she voiced her opinion against a male student changing in the girl’s locker room. The school then stopped all females from changing in the changing rooms following complaints.
Female athlete Blake Allen protested a male being allowed to undress in her girls locker room and when she protested, the school stopped all of the girls from using the locker room. She’s fighting back as an @ADFLegal client. pic.twitter.com/FGUvIET84r
— Jonathan Saenz (@jonathansaenzTX) January 12, 2023
The NCAA spoke in detail about the topic at a session held during the convention.
Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League, stated that the NCAA wants “an environment that is fair and welcoming for all athletes,” adding that transgender athletes have the same eligibility requirements as other athletes.
Jean Merrill, director of inclusion at the NCAA, stated that transgender athletes “play by the rules.”
A former transgender athlete also gave commentary on the session; Schuyler Bailar, a Harvard swimmer who switched to male swimming from female swimming, was part of the session.
Bailar observed, “The more we know about people and bodies, the more we understand diversity. Equity and inclusion.”
Bailar supported a policy that would see NCAA not hold competitions in states where transgender athletes are banned in women’s sports. He also said, “If I’m asking you do you want more support? The answer will be “absolutely yes.”
Outside the convention, Riley Gaines submitted a petition to the NCAA.
Compelling moment in #USA🇺🇸#sports.
Athletes @icons_women @KimJonesICONS @SmithMarshi @Hogshead3Au and others, lead by @Riley_Gaines_ , present #NCAA officials with petition & letter warning of legal action.
👉🏼The @NCAA is not above the law!#SaveWomensSports #Texas pic.twitter.com/8si61c1oCZ
— Linda Blade (@coachblade) January 12, 2023
Today, @Riley_Gaines_ and other amazing women spoke on behalf of collegiate women athletes across the country who want to keep men out of women’s sports. The @NCAA should take notice, women and concerned citizens will not stay silent on this issue. #SaveWomensSports @txvalues pic.twitter.com/1nMb5IiVh6
— Nino Gonzalez (@Pastorninog) January 12, 2023
This is Blake Allen. As a mere sophomore in high school, Blake spoke up about a male who came into the girls’ locker room to stare at the girls.
SHE was suspended from school! Her dad Lost His Job! They were later overturned – but it is why we need our #SexBasedRights pic.twitter.com/FMz0pmh7iD
— Nancy Hogshead-Makar, JD, Oly (@Hogshead3Au) January 12, 2023