Two female athletes spoke up for women’s sports at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday.
Collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines, a three-time Southeastern Conference champion and a 12-time All-American, had to compete against transgender athlete Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships this year.
Thomas, a swimmer on the Women’s Team at the University of Pennsylvania, competed for the Men’s Swim Team for three years.
She was ranked at 554 in the 200 yard freestyle event, 65 in 500, and 32 in 1650 freestyle, according to Swimming World Magazine.
After switching to the women’s team last fall, Thomas broke the women’s records for the 200 and the 500.
At the NCAA championship, Gaines and Thomas tied for fifth place in the 200 freestyle competition and Thomas won the national title in the 500 freestyle.
Thomas was given a trophy to hold and Gaines was told that her trophy would come in the mail.
“It was at this point I realized that they’re trying to save face here,” Gaines said at CPAC in Dallas, Texas. “The NCAA mismanaged this.”
Former President Donald Trump also spoke about the issue at the convention. “Young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males.”
“It’s not good for women. it’s not good for women’s sports which worked for so long and so hard to get to where they are,” he added.
“If this does not change, women’s sports as we know it will die,” Trump said.
Professional skateboarder Taylor Silverman has been forced to compete against transgender athletes on three separate occasions.
She placed second in May at Red Bull’s 2021 Cornerstone Skate Series to transgender skater Lillian Gallagher. Gallagher won “$5,000 of the prize money meant for the female athletes,” said Silverman.
“I took $1,000 in qualifiers and $1,750 for second place, so $2,750 in total. The girl who took third received $750. The girl who deserved $1,000 for best trick took nothing along with whoever would have placed third,” she explained.
“It impacted my mental health. I was very upset about it,” stated Silverman. “I felt like I wasn’t following my values of speaking up for myself, and calling something out when I saw something wrong happening”.