Lia Thomas state Kentucky San Francisco county San Francisco county Thomas Universities ATHLETICS students inclusion Transgender Sporting Lia Thomas state Kentucky San Francisco county San Francisco county Thomas

Riley Gaines Feared for Her Life After Speaking Out Against Lia Thomas

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www.newsweek.com

Newsweek she feared for her life after speaking out over the participation of transgender women, whom she considers to be biological males, in women's sports.The swimmer, who hosts the Gaines for Girls podcast for sports media website OutKick, said she was physically assaulted, stalked and abused after becoming one of the most prominent campaigners against the inclusion of transgender athletes in female sporting competitions.In 2022, Gaines, then a University of Kentucky student, tied for fifth place with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in the 200-yard NCAA freestyle championship.

Thomas also won the 500-yard NCAA freestyle competition, making them the first transgender athlete in any sport to win a Division I national championship.Angered by the experience, which included sharing a changing room with Thomas, Gaines became politically active and has since taken her campaign against transgender inclusion in women's sport to university campuses, Congress and state legislatures.

During an appearance at San Francisco State University in April 2023, Gaines was chased and abused by protesters, whom she claimed also hit her and barricaded her in a room for several hours.Asked by Newsweek whether she feared for her life Gaines replied: "Definitely.

I've been in situations now where in the case of San Francisco I was physically assaulted, I was held for ransom for four hours by these protesters, I've been spit on, I've had drinks poured on me, glass bottles thrown at me, I've been called the most obscene things you can imagine, I've had drones flying above my house, people showing up to my house, people staking outside my hotel room when they find out where I'm staying, so absolutely."At first it did really scare me, but I realized pretty quickly actually that that's exactly what they're trying to do—scare me and scare me into silence...even in the face of fear, I feel I'm someone who's not going to back down from doing what I feel to be right and fair and moral and.

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