Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines TESTIFIES in support of Ohio bill blocking trans athletes and gender-affirming care

Social media has been buzzing about Riley Gaines' criticism of a transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, gaining her a lot of attention.

Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines TESTIFIES in support of Ohio bill blocking trans athletes and gender-affirming care

Riley Gaines [Image Credit- Imago]

Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, is notably vocal against competing alongside transgender athlete Lia Thomas. She testified before the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee in favor of a bill seeking to bar trans athletes from Ohio women’s sports. Riley Gaines recounted an incident during the 200-yard freestyle championship in 2022.

Gaines and Thomas finished with an identical time, placing them jointly in fifth. Gaines expressed her dismay during the testimony, stating that despite the tie, NCAA officials declared the award exclusively Thomas’s for PR reasons. She described feeling discarded and trivialized. It was highlighted that the NCAA appeared to prioritize the emotions of a transgender athlete over her own.


NCAA officials informed Gaines that the trophy was designated for Thomas, according to her statement. The authorities stated that they had to do this to maintain a positive reputation with the public.

"I was very taken aback. I felt offended and disregarded as if I was only good for being a photo prop."
Riley Gaines on NCAA treatment through Ohio Capital Journal.

In the event that House Bill 68 is approved, physicians will be barred from administering puberty blockers or hormones to transgender minors.

Doctors would no longer be able to carry out gender-confirmation surgeries on young people. It would also preclude doctors from performing gender-reassignment surgery on minors. Despite testimonies that no Ohio pediatric hospitals currently offer such procedures to individuals under 18. Leading US medical organizations endorse gender-affirming care, according to supporters of the practice.


Riley Gaines not the only athlete to testify before Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee

Representative Gary Click (R-Vickery) introduced HB 68, with the House passing it in June. During the testimonies, proponents, including May Mailman from the Independent Women’s Law Center, alluded to scientific evidence of the inherent 10% athletic edge males typically possess over females. Gaines was not alone in her opposition to Thomas’s participation.

Riley Gaines[Image Credit- Imago]
Riley Gaines[Image Credit- Imago]

Former USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen, who resigned to protest Thomas’s competition, also supported the bill, emphasizing the importance of fairness in swimming. Lia Thomas became a trailblazer as the first transgender athlete to secure an NCAA Division I national championship. However, her achievements sparked widespread controversy over transgender participation in women’s sports.

Before making a change, Thomas swam with Penn’s men’s swimming team for three seasons. Ohio currently has a minimal presence of transgender female high school athletes. In Ohio, transgender girls who wish to join teams with cisgender girls have to meet certain eligibility requirements, such as undergoing hormone treatment for at least a year or proving that they do not have an unfair advantage.


House Bill 68 wants to stop boys from playing in girls’ sports, but they can still play on teams with both boys and girls. Detransitioner Richard Anumene regretfully testified about undergoing gender transition surgeries that caused irreversible changes. Leading to severe psychological distress and substance dependency. Additionally, Corinna Cohn, who began transitioning at 18, imparted insights from three decades of lived experience.

In case you missed it:

Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!