Collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines, who tied with male transgender athlete Lia Thomas at the past NCAA championships, along with professional skateboarder Taylor Silverman, who has been forced to compete against trans-identified biological males on three separate occasions, spoke up for women's sports at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday.
Gaines, who is a three-time Southeastern Conference champion and a 12-time All-American, was forced to race against Thomas at the NCAA championships back in March, who swam for three years on the University of Pennsylvania Men’s Swim Team before switching to the Women’s Team as Lia last fall. In the men's division, Thomas was ranked at 554 in the 200 yard freestyle event, 65 in 500, and 32 in 1650 freestyle according to Swimming World Magazine. In December 2021 after switching to the women's division, Thomas broke the women's records for the 200 and the 500.
At the NCAA championships, Gaines tied Thomas for fifth place in the 200 freestyle competition, the day after the transgender athlete won the national title in the 500 freestyle. However, only Thomas was given a trophy to hold for the photo op, and Gaines was told that her trophy would come in the mail later on.
"It was at this point I realized that they're trying to save face here," Gaines said on stage at CPAC in Dallas, Texas. According to her, "the NCAA mismanaged this."
Silverman, who regularly competes in skateboarding at some of the highest levels, made headlines when she spoke up after placing second in May at Red Bull’s 2021 Cornerstone Skate Series to transgender skater Lillian Gallagher, which was shockingly the third time she had competed against a biological male.
In that contest, Gallagher was awarded $1000 in the qualifiers, $3000 in finals, and $1000 for best trick.
"This totaled to $5,000 of the prize money meant for the female athletes," said Silverman after the competition. "I took $1,000 in qualifiers and $1,750 for second place, so $2,750 in total. The girl who took third received $750. The girl who deserved $1,000 for best trick took nothing along with whoever would have placed third."
"...over the past few years, I've noticed this happening more and more," Silverman told the audience at CPAC. "The first couple of times that it happened to me, I assumed that it would eventually be a funny story that we joked about that unfortunately happened to a few of us, but then got stopped because it was obviously unfair. But finally, I made the decision to speak up."
"It was a moral obligation for me to use my voice," she continued.
Speaking on the dangers of allowing biological males to compete in women's sports, Gaines brought up the unfortunate reality that some women face when forced to share a locker room with males.
"I actually talked with a swimmer who is a survivor of sexual trauma, and being in the locker room with a male and seeing male parts has completely retriggered everything," she said to the CPAC audience.
"It impacted my mental health. I was very upset about it," stated Silverman, recalling the multiple losses to transgender athletes. "I felt like I wasn't following my values of speaking up for myself, and calling something out when I saw something wrong happening. So, in those months that I stayed silent, I was suffering and there's young girls suffering. There's other athletes suffering in other sports, and these girls matter too."
"And, we shouldn't put one person's feelings over everybody else's when the consequences are severe," she continued. "...I actually felt grateful that I didn't compete in a combat sport or a contact sport because I thought all I lost was a paycheck but I didn't have to physically get hurt."
In recent years, these fears of being hurt by a male athlete identifying as a woman have been proven to be valid.
MMA fighter Fallon Fox, broke two opponent's skulls on two different occasions to win the fight. Fox, a male to female transgender athlete, seriously injured Erika Newsome in what would be her last professional fight.
Fox also beat Tamikka Brents, giving her a concussion and breaking seven orbital bones. According to The Post Millennial, Brents was not informed that Fox was a biological male before the match.
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