College athletes 'exposed to male genitalia' after being forced to share locker room with trans swimmer Lia Thomas
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An All-American swimmer has spoken out against the NCAA, claiming she was "exposed to male genitalia" without her consent after being forced to share a locker room with transgender athlete Lia Thomas.
Riley Gaines, who is a a 12-time All-American and 5-time SEC champion with Kentucky, has joined the chorus of voices who have taken issue with Thomas' eligibility.
But while the majority of collegiate athletes have taken exception to her place in the pool, where Thomas has shattered countless records, Gaines admits it was in the changing rooms where the real issues took place.
Speaking to Fox News, Gaines opened up on her experiences of sharing a locker room with Thomas, describing the moment the swimmer 'dropped his pants'.
"We were not forewarned beforehand that we would be sharing a locker room with Lia," Gaines said.
"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."
She added: "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."
It's understood Thomas had started the process of hormone replacement therapy at the time, although she hadn't undergone full surgery.
Gaines has since attended President Joe Biden's State of the Union, campaigning openly about giving female athletes an equal opportunity to perform in women’s sports amid the trans eligibility debate.
Powerful & emotional. This is a testament to the devastating impact that a biological male competing in women's sports has on female athletes.@Riley_Gaines_ shares her story in Virginia in support of the "Fairness in Women's Sports" bill. This is why we must #SaveWomensSports. pic.twitter.com/Jb4eoRxANH— Independent Women's Forum (@IWF) January 31, 2023
One thing Gaines wants the NCAA to do is make separate locker rooms for transgender athletes
"Of course, after NCAA championships, the NCAA then nominated Thomas for NCAA Woman of the Year, so we are celebrating this movement. This is not something that happened by chance on a one-off basis," she said.
"They are encouraging [biological] men to compete in women’s sports.
"Honestly, you have all these people all the time tell me how courageous it is to speak to this and how brave I am, but truthfully does it make someone brave to just acknowledge women deserve equal opportunities? That’s how far we have come as a society and within our culture."
Gaines continued: "People are terrified, especially speaking from my experience of talking to other NCAA swimmers specifically. Lia Thomas’ teammates even. They are told their school has made their stance for them. They are told if they feel uncomfortable seeing male genitalia in the locker room, they should seek counseling resources. They're told they will never get into grad school if they speak out," Gaines said.
"All of these terrible, awful things that are not true. They are told, of course, that they will be called a bigot and hateful and transphobic, but it doesn’t make you any of those things to acknowledge that there are two sexes, you cannot change your sex and women deserve opportunities."
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/ESPN/Alamy
Topics: Swimming, Lia Thomas, United States