Riley Gaines discusses what drives the gender ideology movement: 'Follow the money'

Riley Gaines sat down with Campus Reform and said the gender ideology movement is asking Americans to "deny the most basic of truths."

Amid her lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for allowing men to compete in women’s sports, Riley Gaines, director of the Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute, visited the University of Florida to share her message with students. 

As part of Gaines’ “Reclaim Feminism Tour,” the former 12-time All-American NCAA swimmer discussed the erasure of truth and the gender ideology movement. 

“The premise of the entire gender ideology movement is we’re being asked to deny the most basic of truths: objective truth, biological reality and biblical truth of man and woman,” Gaines said. 

[RELATED: Riley Gaines and 15 other student athletes sue NCAA for letting male athletes trample women’s sports]

Gaines also sat down with Campus Reform to discuss a shift in opinion she has noticed among Americans. 

“There’s a huge shift showing that people are waking up day by day and understanding the harm and severity of this issue. Parents, legislators, coaches, female athletes… everybody,” Gaines said.

Campus Reform reports that opposition to men in women’s sports is on the rise, as 69% of Americans believe athletes should play against athletes of their own sex regardless of transgender identification, according to a Gallup poll.

This poll shows a considerable change in public opinion in just two years. The same poll conducted by Gallup in 2021 found that 62% of Americans felt that sports should be divided by biological sex.

While the majority of Americans oppose biological men competing in women’s sports, organizations like the NCAA still allow men to compete in women’s categories. 

[RELATED: Transgender woman breaks track records at New York college: ‘The thing that never happens happened again’] 

“We’ve allowed this fringe minority to be in these powerful positions and allow this problem to continue,” Gaines said. “What drives this movement as a whole is dollar signs, and our leaders understand you can profit off this movement.”

For example, Gaines explained, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine vetoed HB 68, which would bar biological men from women’s sports and ban irreversible gender surgeries and hormones for minors.

“He vetoed it as a Republican, and if you look at who he’s received money from, he’s received over $40,000 from hospitals that provide these surgeries,” Gaines stated. 

Donations from 2018 to 2023 show Governor DeWine received $40,300 from the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA), Cincinnati Children’s, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and ProMedica Children’s Hospital, which all support transgender medical care, according to the Ohio Press Network.

[RELATED: UPDATE: Ohio House Republicans override DeWine’s veto of bill to protect women’s sports]

“What we need to see is our leaders have a backbone and regain a moral compass. It’s a slippery slope that we are actively being brought down by our own leaders,” Gaines said.

Gaines discussed the dangers of opening women’s spaces to include men, including bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories and sororities.

“We hear this word compassion used all the time in this debate, but it’s not compassionate to ask a young girl to undress in front of a man, and it’s not inclusive to ask us as women to smile and step aside and allow these men onto our podiums or into our sororities,” Gaines said. 

Gaines also addressed the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX that would expand protections of biological sex to include ‘gender identity,’ which could potentially eliminate female-only sports, facilities, and scholarships at federally funded institutions.

“You could be a 17-year-old girl in college and a boy comes into your locker room or you are randomly housed in a dorm room with a boy, and if you go to your administration and complain, you could be charged with sexual harassment under this new Title IX rewrite,” Gaines said. 

Currently, over 450 colleges have created gender-inclusive housing where students can choose to live based on their ‘gender identity’ regardless of their biological gender and over 420 colleges have gender-neutral bathrooms, according to Campus Pride

“We have to hold their feet to the fire and call this what it really is, which is an anti-woman movement,” Gaines remarked. 

[RELATED: Sign at UChicago lets women know men will be using their restroom: report]

Campus Reform also spoke to Emely Almendarez, President of Network of Enlightened Women (NeW), the organization that hosted Gaines at the University of Florida, who expressed her concern about the erasure of women’s spaces. 

“There are multiple instances where certain feminist agendas prioritize ideology over the concerns and rights of women,” Almendarez said. “Allowing men into sororities, restrooms and locker rooms for women jeopardizes our sense of privacy, security and comfort.”

Almendarez also expressed her excitement to host Gaines, noting that campuses should be places of intellectual diversity where students are exposed to a broad variety of viewpoints. 

“Campuses may uphold their responsibility to promote critical thinking, tolerance and civil discourse among students by giving conservative speakers like Riley a forum,” Almendarez stated. “Riley represents the younger generation and is now viewed as a leader so many of us conservative students look up to.”

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