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"Courage is Contagious"

Riley Gaines encourages girls to be brave and testifies in support of the Save Women's Sports Act
By The Editors
November 30, 2023
On The Record
 

Riley Gaines has a message for girls and women in Ohio and across America. 

“Understand that courage is contagious. One person speaking up can inspire so many.”

“Stand firm in the truth, be bold, be strong.”

Speaking this week on the President’s Podcast, Gaines also delivered a message for parents: “Be willing to defend your daughters because they need you. I waited for someone to stick up for us. And we were failed by so many. So, parents and coaches, be willing to defend your female athletes, your daughters.”

“We need strong men as well. So, be those strong parents for your daughters, defend your daughters, and teach your sons masculinity.”

She also has a message for America: “Keep women's sports female.”

Gaines is an elite athlete who has become a nationally renowned advocate for fairness in girls’ and women’s sports after being forced to compete against a man in the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships.

Swimming for the University of Kentucky, she was a 12-time NCAA All-American, a five-time SEC champion, the SEC record holder in the 200 butterfly, and a two-time Olympic trial qualifier.

Gaines appeared before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Senator Kristina Roegner, to testify in support of House Bill 68 which would save girls’ and women’s sports in Ohio’s K-12 schools and colleges by limiting competition to biological females.

(Watch Gaines' testimony here.)

The bill would also ban juvenile gender-transition services, including the genital-mutilation surgery and chemical and hormonal treatments on children referred to by the misleading euphemism “gender-affirming care” by its proponents.  

Gaines was the first elite athlete to state the obvious – and stand up for what’s right – when she publicly declared it is just plain wrong to make women compete against men.

She is particularly scathing in her criticism of the NCAA for allowing biological men who identify as women to compete in woman’s sports.

Gaines testified, “I urge you to pass HB 68 to protect female athletes, especially at the collegiate level where the physical differences, risks of injury and loss of potential opportunities afforded to female athletes are greatest.”

“I am here because I believe every girl deserves to be protected,” she emphasized.

Gaines made these key points about letting men compete with women in collegiate sports:

·       It is fundamentally unfair because men have a physical advantage.

·       Women lose opportunities to play for teams and obtain scholarships when displaced by men – the exact opposite of the intent of Title IX.

·       Women risk serious injury in certain sports when playing with men.

·       It is degrading, intimidating, and humiliating for women to be crushed by men in competition.

·       It increases a sense of vulnerability among women and is embarrassing and degrading to be forced to share locker rooms with men.

Gaines testified what it was like to be suddenly forced to compete against the six-foot-four biological male Lia Thomas in the NCAA Swimming Championships.

“The female athletes who objected to Thomas’ participation in women’s swimming were told to remain silent. The gaslighting of female swimmers has felt intimidating at times. But I will not be silent. I will tell people the truth about my experience, and I will do my best to speak for those female athletes who have been threatened into submission.”

During the podcast with Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, Gaines explained how those who objected “had to go to special trainings.”

“The verbiage they used was to re-educate ourselves if we didn't feel comfortable seeing male genitalia or if we weren't okay giving up our opportunities to a male. Then, we were told, we were the problem. We should apologize.”

Gaines wondered, how is this pro-woman? The message officials gave the women was “shut up – or else.”

“My school specifically told us, look, you don't want to speak out because if you do you'll never get a job. You'll never get into grad school. You'll lose your scholarship and your playing time.”

She said the bottom line from officials was: “We don't permit you to take a stance.”

Gaines said the situation is getting even worse as the Biden administration attempts to rewrite Title IX to equate sex with gender identity, because “men would have full access to bathrooms, locker rooms, changing spaces on campuses. Men could take academic and athletic scholarships away from women. Men could be randomly housed with women in dorm rooms.”

“If you complained, you would be charged with – and guilty of – sexual harassment.”

“The message that's being sent loud and clear is we don't matter. We as female athletes. We as women. We don't matter. Our privacy? Doesn't matter. Our safety? Doesn't matter. Our equal opportunities, our fairness, our feelings, our dignity? No, that doesn't matter to them.”

“What matters to them is protecting the feelings and the identity of a male.”

Gaines’ is currently an ambassador for the Independent Women’s Forum. Her colleague, May Mailman, also testified in support of HB 68. Mailman served recently as the Deputy Solicitor General and Director of the Tenth Amendment Center for the State of Ohio.

She also served as a White House attorney and policy advisor from 2017 through 2021, focusing  on health care, immigration, education, and women’s issues.

Mailman testified, “It is not only trans athletes who are seeking entry into women's sports. In fact, in the United States today, high school boys who identify as boys are increasingly seeking spots on women’s field hockey and volleyball teams when the schools offer no corresponding men’s team. Americans know instinctively that this is unfair.”

(Watch Mailman’s testimony here.)

She noted how a Biden administration proposal would “flip Title IX on its head” by abandoning a 50-year regulation to “provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both sexes” by replacing it with “a new default position that women’s sports are for anyone who identifies as a woman.”

“Put simply,” Mailman explained, “Title IX requires colleges and universities to provide equal opportunities to male and female athletes. Allowing males to take roster spots and opportunities from females violates this equal opportunity mandate.”

“Let me be perfectly clear,” she continued, “the federal Department of Education’s proposed rule is unlawful. And it will not survive legal challenge in court. The State of Ohio joined with 21 other states to argue the proposed rule defies Title IX’s text, history, and purpose.” 

“Instead of advancing the mission that Title IX started more than 50 years ago, the proposed rule would take a large leap toward erasing many women and girls from competitive sports.”

Also testifying in support of HB 68 was Dr. David Bonnet, the system chief medical officer of high reliability medicine at University Hospitals in Cleveland. He was trained in specialties of internal medicine and pediatrics.

(Watch here to learn all of the compelling scientific details explained by Dr. Bonnet.)

He detailed the scientific findings showing so-called "gender-affirming care" is, in fact, junk science. 

Bonnet compared the current enthusiasm for “gender-affirming care” among proponents to the same well-intentioned but misguided popularity of lobotomies to treat mental illness.  

“Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said, while emphasizing the suffering of transgender individuals is real, and, “They deserve community, dignity and compassion.” 

“What they do not deserve,” Bonnet added, “is grotesquely optimistic false promises that are unsupported by science.”

He called the medical literature purporting to support gender-affirming care "incomplete at best, and biased and poor quality at worst, which is leading to harmful and deadly outcomes and consequences, especially for children, thus making true informed consent impossible.”

Bonnet added, “This is not a partisan issue. Scientists, child advocates, and physicians of both parties are speaking out. Many of them are socialists, queer or trans themselves, or have been involved in pioneering the development of these treatments, here and abroad.”

“Ideology has no place in the practice of medicine,” the chief medical officer concluded.  “And it is indeed, I fear, exactly that which is driving the implementation of these harmful therapies, destructive surgeries, and empty promises.”

During the podcast, President Huffman asked Gaines a simple but poignant question, “Why are you doing this?”

“I am almost ashamed to admit it,” she reflected. “I was waiting for someone else to stick up for me. And my teammates. Because I thought someone would. I didn't think it was my responsibility. What did I know, right?”

But Gaines had an epiphany while watching Thomas accept her trophy.

“How in the world can we expect someone to save us if we weren't even willing to save ourselves? We need more bold people. We need more people willing to speak the truth.”  

Gaines said her message is generally well received when she speaks on campus because she finds students are hungry for the truth.

"That being said, the loud minority is just that – they're very loud. And they're very angry. They're very hateful. They're very spiteful. Vengeful, I would say. Unhappy. Miserable, I think is the best word for it."

"There have certainly been times where I've had some of the most obscene, profane, heinous things you could yell at someone. I've been spit on, I've been hit, I 've been punched, I've been held for ransom for four-plus hours where these protestors demanded that if I wanted to make it home to see my family safely again, I had to pay them money."

Of course, money is what this really about.

Millions for the radical left, that has a mission of normalizing deviant predatory behavior that dominates today’s Democratic agenda at the national, state and local levels.

Here in Ohio, we know that Planned Parenthood said the “reproductive rights of individuals” recently passed as part of Issue 1 had nothing to do with legalizing sex change operations for minors.

Clearly, this post by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio a week after the election proves they lied.



For these radicals, there is too much money to make preying on the lives of children suffering from behavioral disorders.

This is the agenda of the Biden Administration – to obliterate the standard set by Title IX for women’s athletics in 1972, in favor of misogynistic woke rules that dehumanize women and their hard fought accomplishments.

This won’t be tolerated in Ohio.

President Huffman noted that passing HB 68 will show how we protect our daughters and women’s sports in Ohio, and that really does the NCAA a favor, "because they have lost control of this."

You can expect the left, the media, and their woke minions will throw a name-calling tantrum.

Stand firm.

Because, as Riley says, “Courage is contagious.”