Riley Gaines is among 16 female athletes suing NCAA for allowing trans competitors in sport after Lia Thomas ‘disrobed in front of non-consenting college women’

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Written By Maya Cantina
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  • The lawsuit centers around Lia Thomas, the trans woman who won the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships
  • It asks the governing body to change its rules to render biological males ineligible to compete against female athletes 

Women’s rights activist and former college swimmer Riley Gaines is among 16 female athletes who have filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletics Association.

‘It’s official!’ Gaines posted on X on Thursday.

‘I’m suing the NCAA along with 15 other collegiate athletes who have lost out on titles, records, & roster spots to men posing as women The NCAA continues to explicitly violate the federal civil rights law of Title IX.’

‘About time someone did something about it.’

The federal lawsuit, the first of its kind, centers around Lia Thomas, the trans athlete who won the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, as reported by The Free Press.

Women’s rights activist and former college swimmer Riley Gaines is among 16 female athletes who have filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletics Association

The federal lawsuit, the first of its kind, centers around Lia Thomas , the trans athlete who won the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships as a student at the University of Pennsylvania

The federal lawsuit, the first of its kind, centers around Lia Thomas , the trans athlete who won the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships as a student at the University of Pennsylvania

Hungarian-born swimmer Réka György lost her spot in the NCAA finals after placing 17th in the 500-yard freestyle during Thursday's Division I meet. She is one of the plaintiffs

Hungarian-born swimmer Réka György lost her spot in the NCAA finals after placing 17th in the 500-yard freestyle during Thursday’s Division I meet. She is one of the plaintiffs 

It claims Thomas’ win participation in the event and win represented a violation of Title IX, which gives women the right to equal opportunity in sports.

Thomas competed as a man as recently as 2019, and her rankings greatly improved following her gender transition. She was ranked 65th when competing in the same category, the 500-yards freestyle, as a male, leading to outrage from activists and female swimmers.

Three months after Thomas’ win, World Aquatics implemented a ban on transgender women. US Swimming, by that time, had already introduced strict transgender regulations in March 2022, which critics said stopped short of a ban.

However, the NCAA continues allowing transgender athletes in women’s sports. 

The suit asks the NCAA to change its rules to render biological males ineligible to compete against female athletes and that it evoke all awards handed to trans athletes in women’s competitions and give them to their female contenders.

Moreover, the suit demands ‘damages for pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, suffering and anxiety, expense costs and other damages due to defendants’ wrongful conduct.’

The legal action was organized by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports. 

Other plaintiffs include former North Carolina State swimmer Kylee Alons, current Virginia Tech simmer Réka György, and Kaitlynn Wheeler, who swam for the University of Kentucky, as did Gaines.

Alons told The Free Press she was so uncomfortable with Thomas using the women’s locker room that she began changing in a storage closet.

‘I was literally racing U.S. and Olympic gold medalists and I was changing in a storage closet at this elite-level meet,’ she said.

The suit accuses the NCAA of violating the Fourteenth Amendment by ‘destroying female safe spaces in women’s locker rooms.’

The plaintiffs claim the association is allowing ‘naked men possessing full male genitalia to disrobe in front of non-consenting college women,’ – thus creating ‘situations in which unwilling female college athletes unwittingly or reluctantly exposed their unclad bodies to males, subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy.’

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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