Coming soon to an undisclosed location near you: Help Protect America’s Daughters, an evening with speaker Riley Gaines, a former member of the University of Kentucky NCAA swim team who was allegedly traumatized when she was forced to compete against Lia Thomas, a transgender woman.
Gaines will speak somewhere in Troy — you only get a location once you’ve purchased tickets — on Thursday, May 11. The event was organized by and is a fundraiser for the Michigan 11th District Republican Committee, which was formerly chaired by alleged white nationalist Shane Trejo.
Gaines, for her part, rose to notoriety — she is advertised as a “conservative rock star” — after she began speaking out, with her school’s support, against trans women competing in women’s sports. Gaines advocates for cisgender women's refusal to compete against trans athletes until officials change policy and, according to her, start protecting "America’s daughters."
“Gaines, bested by swimming champion Lia Thomas, is showing a complete lack of good sportsmanship and tact by embarking on a crusade against transgender athletes,” said Logan Harding, research librarian for Stand with Trans. “While no one likes losing, it’s not exactly a sign of open-mindedness to suggest that the only way to make women’s sports fair again is for cisgender women to refuse to compete against transgender women.”
Gaines recently made headlines after she was allegedly assaulted by protestors demonstrating at a San Francisco speaking engagement of hers last month.
“I was physically assaulted by one person,” Gaines told CNN. “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.”
In the past, Gaines has spoken at rallies for former president Donald Trump and failed U.S. Senate candidate and alleged philanderer Herschel Walker. She also supported the campaign of, and appears in ads for, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who voted against legislation that a majority of the U.S. Senate passed last year to enshrine specific protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law.
Tickets for Protect America’s Daughters start at $25 for students and go all the way up to $60 for general admission and $100 for VIP. VIP Tickets include heavy appetizers, an open bar from 6 to 7 p.m. and a photo opportunity with Gaines. Promotional materials for the event state that Gaines whole life changed after she was “forced” to compete against “a biological man who had recently decided to be a ‘woman.’”
Gaines’ Twitter account is followed, not surprisingly, by Caitlyn Jenner. Her most recent pinned post: “Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The
@ncaa is responsible.”
Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant, cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible.
“Imagine being so full of hate that you would rather forfeit your own opportunities just because someone else got one too,” said Harding. “That rigid, ignorant stance completely overlooks the fact that not only are there other ways to make women’s sports more fair — more functional uniforms, better pay, more equitable resource distribution — but it also overlooks the fact that trans women are not competing against cisgender women; there’s no ill-intent in their participation. They are women competing with other women in women’s sports, right where they belong.”