'A biblical fight': Riley Gaines discusses her mission to save women's sports

As part of her 'Reclaim Feminism Tour,' Riley Gaines spoke at the University of Alabama on Feb. 15 and sat down with Campus Reform to further elaborate on her message.

Although it has become controversial to acknowledge differences between men and women on college campuses today, Riley Gaines, director of the Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute, made her way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Feb. 15 to share her message with University of Alabama students during her “Reclaim Feminism Tour.”

With men who identify as women increasingly competing in women’s sports, Gaines sat down for an interview with Campus Reform in which she shared her thoughts behind her mission to defend female athletes and the integrity of athletics.

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“The message here, it’s not anti-anything–It is pro-reality. It’s pro-science. It’s pro-common sense. It’s pro-fairness. It’s pro-woman,” Gaines said. 

“I stand for something rather than against something and I think when you have something you’re fighting for, rather than against, I find it keeps me grounded. It keeps me propagated to continue moving forward,” she continued. 

A decorated former All-American swimmer at the University of Kentucky, Gaines applauded the “athletics side” of her alma mater for supporting her in her efforts to speak out. “They saw how hard I worked, and they saw that those opportunities that we [female athletes] so hardly fought for … being stripped away, so they backed me,” she said.

When asked why powerful institutions are failing to do the same for other women in sports, Gaines noted that too many people are “terrified” of the backlash from speaking up, namely for the fear of being labeled an “oppressor” and guilty of marginalizing others.

Gaines also pointed out that “money” in the forms of grants, funding, and fear of lawsuits is also behind the push for men competing in women’s sports at the hands of institutions ranging from academia, to government, to big business.

“They don’t follow red or blue, they follow green,” she remarked.

Gaines also urged more Americans to “hit them where it hurts” financially. “Stop giving your money to organizations and corporations that hate you.”

Gaines emphasized that “people need to find their voice.”

“We see that this is wrong but no one’s willing to say it,” she noted. “But when one person does, I think that it inspires a whole group of people.”

In both her Campus Reform interview and her talk to Alabama students, Gaines hammered home her message of her fight being grounded in her Christian faith. 

“This is a biblical fight, really – an attack on God’s word and his gospel and his message,” Gaines stated. “As a Christian, that’s why we are placed here on his Earth, is to spread his word.”

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Alabama sophomore Lila Gallagher shared her appreciation for Gaines and her impact on college campuses in comments made to Campus Reform

“I thought having Riley Gaines share her experience with a room full of girls shed some much-needed light on real issues women deal with on the daily,” she remarked. “The world could always use more outspoken women’s voices, and having one on our campus was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” 

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Alabama for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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