After University of Kentucky standout swimmer Riley Gaines competed with — and tied — a biologically male rival in last year’s 2022 NCAA championship, she became an outspoken critic of allowing transgender individuals to dominate female athletics.
Her rhetoric, which includes a denunciation of the unfair advantage that biological males have over females as well as the fact that she was forced to share a locker room with someone who has male genitalia, earned her support from a large portion of the country.
At the same time, proponents of a radical LGBT agenda have increasingly targeted her with verbal attacks and, during a speech last week in San Francisco, California, physical assault.
This is an appalling attack on free speech on a college campus.
House Republicans stand with Riley Gaines and her brave and tireless efforts to protect women’s sports. https://t.co/KLGQZsTRlp
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) April 7, 2023
Following the event at San Francisco State University on Thursday, she described the harrowing experience in an interview with CNN.
“I was physically assaulted by one person,” Gaines said. “I was struck twice, both times hitting my shoulder with the second strike grazing my face. The rest of the protestors just ambushed and cornered me before I was able to move out with the help of campus police.”
She also appeared on Fox News, where she detailed her next steps in an interview with host Tucker Carlson.
“You know, I am worried about my safety,” she said. “I have to be now. When we have people who are willing to do this, and we know why they’re willing to do this, it is because they don’t have reason, they don’t have logic, they don’t have science, they don’t have common sense on their side. That’s on my side. And so they protrude by violence, whether it’s physical or verbal violence.”
Despite the reaction she has received, Gaines said that she is not deterred, adding: “This assures me that I’m doing the right thing. This will not silence me. When they want me to be silenced, it just means I need to speak louder.”
When Carlson asked whether she received any defense from elected officials or university authorities, she indicated that she did not.
“Not the dean of students, not the campus police,” she said, though she did credit San Francisco police officers for doing “a phenomenal job in escorting, three hours later.”
As for her next moves, Gaines explained: “I will be pursuing legal action. I will ensure that the people who physically assaulted me, the people who put me in that position, they will face repercussions.”