Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines told Newsmax on Monday that having female college athletes compete against transgender athletes like Lia Thomas is a "knock" and "slap in the face" to Title IX, which prevents discrimination based on sex.
"This goes against everything Title IX was created to protect," Gaines told "Eric Bolling The Balance." "Obviously, Title IX worked on stopping discrimination on the basis of sex. When we have men infiltrating into our sports, infiltrating into our locker rooms, that is discriminating on the basis of sex. This is totally a slap in the face."
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title IX was added to law in 1972 and "protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance."
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," according to the law, which applies to about 17,600 local schools as well as another 5,000 post-secondary institutions, charter and for-profit schools, libraries, and museums.
Gaines, who was a swimmer for the University of Kentucky, competed against Thomas, a transgender who was a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, swimming at first on the men's team for three years before "transitioning" and moving to the women's team, the Independent Women's Forum reported.
Thomas went on to win the NCAA 500-yard freestyle national championship in March 2022, becoming the first openly transgender athlete to win a national NCAA title, The New York Times reported at the time.
"I don't see how people don't see the blatant issue with it," she said. "It has nothing to do with being transphobic. There's no doubt [that Lia has] worked hard and sacrificed. You can't do this sport and not do those things.
"But it's just amazing to me that it got to this point. People are not fully grasping the severity of it," Gaines told the Independent Women's Forum. "Seeing a biological male win a national title in a female sport, that's an opportunity that so many people could take advantage of unless action is taken, and things can be implemented to prevent that from happening."
Gaines said Monday she gave the NCAA a petition with more than 10,000 signatures to prohibit biological males from competing against females, and she is hopeful newly elected NCAA President Charlie Baker will make a change to the organization's policy.
"I think it's also worth noting that the has a new president who will take effect in March," she said. "His name is President Charlie Baker, and I truly believe he will be a light in this topic. He has made good ground on this as a political candidate in the past, and I'm feeling very hopeful."
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