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Female athletes were forced to undress in front of Lia Thomas: Riley Gaines

‘I decided I would stand up and speak out,’ Gaines said

Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer William “Lia” Thomas would watch female swimmers undress in the locker room but NCAA officials refused to intervene, Riley Gaines said on Tuesday.

Gaines testified Tuesday in front of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability during a hearing on left-wing violence. Gaines also shared her experience of being attacked at San Francisco State University.

“At our National Championships, I looked around and wondered why no one was standing up for myself and the other women in the pool and in the locker room,” Gaines testified. “As I talked to my teammates and competitors at the NCAA Championships, I discovered that the overwhelming majority of the girls shared extreme discomfort of being forced to strip down in front of a male who was intact with and exposing male genitalia in that same room.”

“After seeing how this affected every girl at that meet, I decided I would stand up and speak out,” she said.

“I have spent this past year speaking about the need to keep women’s sports female and to safeguard women’s privacy, security, and access to a fair playing field,” Gaines said.

“Even worse than the efforts to dismantle Title IX are the efforts to silence and intimidate us through the use of every means available—fear, shame, threats, emotional blackmail, gaslighting—to try to keep us from speaking out against the efforts to deprive women of their right,” she said.

“I believe the coerced silencing of women and men by college administrators who will not let us speak freely about injustices now being faced by women in sports is one of the most important free speech issues of our time,” she said further.

She then discussed her experiences at San Francisco State in early April where protesters blocked her inside a classroom for several hours and demanded ransom to let her leave. Gaines subsequently promised legal action against the university for a failure to protect her.

The student body president of SFSU blamed Gaines for the violence.

“I, as President of Associated Students, condemn and stand against the hateful rhetoric and promotion of violence spread by TPUSA and Riley Gaines as well as the confrontational behavior of the University Police Department at the behest of Campus Administration,” President Karina Zamora wrote, as previously reported by The College Fix.

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IMAGE: Homeland Security Committee/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.