“To Be Exploited in the Locker Room”: Riley Gaines, Who’s Career Destroyed in a Single Event, Drops an Alarming Question

Published 07/16/2023, 12:39 PM EDT

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Riley Gaines, an ex-swimmer from the University of Kentucky, has emerged as the most vocal preacher of maintaining a strict division between men and women in sports. She formed this opinion after she had to endure a challenging locker room experience. Riley alleged that she and her teammates were forced to change their clothes in a shared locker room with a transgender athlete.

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This athlete in question is none other than the iconic Lia Thomas, who began swimming in the female category in 2021. Riley’s experience in the locker room with Lia Thomas sparked a debate about the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Recently, the five-time SEC champion sat down with former Olympian Sharron Davies and asked an alarming question.

Riley Gaines Raises Concerns Over Inclusion of Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports

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Riley had invited the iconic British swimmer on her podcast, “Gaines For Girls”, where the two talked at length about their experiences in competitive swimming and shared their opinions on the unfairness in women’s sports. Both Davies and Gaines believe that it is important to maintain a level playing field for female athletes and ensure fair competition. They argue that allowing transgender women, who were assigned male at birth, to compete against cisgender women could potentially give them an unfair advantage due to physiological differences. Davies and Gaines emphasize the need for thoughtful consideration and policy change.

During the podcast, Davies shared her experience from the early 80s when the East Germans were dominating women’s sports due to their state-sponsored doping program. These steroids were meant to initiate male puberty in female swimmers and enhance their performance.

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Gaines could identify with Davies’ concerns and, at one point during the podcast, asked, “How many women have to get hurt? How many women have to be exploited in the locker room?How many women have to lose out on opportunities before it does matter?” She was alluding to the disappointment she faced last spring in a national swimming championship tied with transgender athlete Lia Thomas.

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The Ongoing Debate on Transgender Athlete Inclusion

Riley Gaines did not feel happy with the outcome of the national swimming championship, where she was tied with transgender athlete Lia Thomas. According to her, Thomas’ height and muscle mass gave her an unfair advantage. Gaines has challenged the NCAA for their policies on transgender athlete inclusion, arguing that it is hurting women’s chances in the competition.

Reminiscing London Olympics, Sharron Davies Shares Vivid Michael Phelps Memory That Will Bring an Instant Smile

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She has also requested the NCAA to grant transgender athletes their separate locker rooms. She clarified that she does not want to ban transgender athletes from the sport. Rather, she wishes to ensure fair competition and create a comfortable environment for all athletes. Gaines believes that implementing these changes will not only address the concerns of cisgender women but also promote inclusivity.

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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Anchal Ahuja is a sports author for Essentially Sports. She is a skilled writer who has a vast knowledge of different sports and is now delved into the US Sports Arena. Anchal has chased her dream and followed her passion to become a pro writer.
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Edited by:

Purva Jain

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