Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who narrowly lost an NCAA competition to transgender rival Lia Thomas, has faced threats and physical violence in her ongoing bid to prevent biological males from dominating women’s sports.
While she has attracted some support from fellow female athletes, a number of other prominent women have spoken out in favor of opening up gender-specific sports to competitors of the opposite biological sex.
WNBA star Brittney Griner added her name to that list recently in a statement that suggested it should be illegal to exclude transgender competitors from women’s sports.
In an interview with ESPN’s Bill Rhoden, Griner affirmed that she will be “fighting for and speaking up against” efforts to preserve athletic leagues created specifically for biological females.
“Everyone deserves the right to play,” she said. “Everyone deserves the right to come here, sit in these seats, and feel safe and not feel like there’s a threat or they can’t be who they are or like it’s just all eyes on them.”
Gaines reacted to the statement in a tweet rhetorically asking which NBA team would welcome Griner “since apparently the overwhelming, obvious differences between men and women should simply be overlooked.”
After calling Griner’s remarks “heartbreaking” and “demeaning,” Gaines made what appeared to be a thinly veiled reference to the former’s recent incarceration in Russia on drug charges.
Which NBA team would have @brittneygriner since apparently the overwhelming, obvious differences between men and women should simply be overlooked? Heartbreaking to see athletically successful women take this demeaning stance.
And if we're going to talk about crimes, Brittney… https://t.co/cZpWYQShRI
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) April 30, 2023
In addition to proposals in GOP-led states to prevent biological males from competing against girls and women, Republicans in the House of Representatives recently advanced a bill aimed at doing the same on the federal level.
Of course, the measure narrowly passed without any Democratic support and its defeat is all but guaranteed in the Democratic-led Senate, but it marked a line in the sand on a deeply divisive issue.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced the bill and explained why he believes such protection is necessary, stating: “Over the last several years there has been a perversion in our culture by the enemy, and the left has completely embraced the lie to erase the lines of gender and to convince you there isn’t really gender, and that gender is fluid and can be whatever you want whenever you want. The left has taken gender identity so far that many on the left today cannot even define what a woman is for fear of retribution by trans activists.”