Former college swimmer Riley Gaines said Tuesday that members of the Harvard swim team received a letter regarding the involvement of transgender Lia Thomas in the sport.
Gaines has become a champion for equality and fairness within women’s sports. She has spoken out against the NCAA and Thomas, as well as many other organizations that allow men to compete in sports that are aimed at females.
Gaines received the letter that read: “The discussions and controversy surrounding Lia were difficult to read. They focus on what is fair or ethical. Lia is a very transparent person and follows all NCAA rules. This is a proven fact. I have seen [Schuyler’s Bailar] transition in person and can say that without the support from the teams, he might not be here. Politics are not as important as life. We will never tell anyone what to do, or what they should believe. But it is not in the best interest of our team to spend collective energy being frustrated or annoyed. Let the NCAA decide what to do next. Let’s focus on our team. If any media contacts us, please direct them to the Sports Media Office. Please refrain from making comments.”
Gaines shared her “translation” of what they were saying on Twitter.
“Let me divert your attention away from the feeling that something is wrong by asking you to concentrate on how wonderful Lia was. You are being emotionally blackmailed into accepting the mistreatment because if you don’t you could be complicit in your own death. It is justified to exchange your fair treatment with someone else (in this case, a male) for their benefit. Gaines wrote on Tuesday that the fair treatment for women was “just politics”. While we won’t tell you what you should do, we will say that fighting this is not the best choice. Let the NCAA men decide your fate. You can distract yourself from the injustice by focusing on something else. Let others decide whether you’re worthy of a fair competition, without your voice or input. Finally, don’t speak.”
Bailar is a former Harvard swimmer and the first transgender swimmer to openly participate in Division I. She was born female but competes on the men’s squad.
Thomas became famous after winning the 2022 NCAA Division I Championships in the role of a transgender woman. This sparked the debate about the inclusion of biological males and females at all levels of female sports.
Twenty-two states have laws regulating transgender women in sports for girls and women. Alabama banned biological men from participating in women’s college sports last month.
“Look, as a male biologically, you will not be able to compete in sports for women and girls in Alabama.” “It’s all about fairness,” said Gov. Kay Ivey made a statement in the past.
Previously, the state had regulations for students in grades K-12.
Harvard has not responded to a request for comment.