By Guy Page
NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines implored U.S. Senators on June 21 to understand the trauma girls and women suffer when forced to undress in locker rooms with biological males.
In response, Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) advised Gaines and others who testified: just accept the change.
Testifying before Senate Judiciary in a hearing on transgender rights, Gaines described being forced to share a locker room with a biological male during the 2022 NCAA championships.
“We had to see a man undressing while we were simultaneously undressing,” Gaines said about an hour into the two-hour hearing. “I left the locker room and went to one of the officials on the pool deck and said ‘what are the guidelines to allow a man into a locker room?’ He so nonchalantly said back, ‘we got around this by making locker rooms unisex.’”
“Any man who wanted to could’ve walked into our locker room. Any coach. Any official,” Gaines told the senators. “We were not forewarned about it. That’s the traumatizing part. It was so easy for them to dismiss a right to privacy….. What message does this send to women, to young girls, who so easily have their rights to privacy and safety thrown out of the window to protect a small population, to protect one group, as long as they are happy?”
Welch said during the lengthy hearing until near the end, when he thanked Gaines for speaking but advised everyone – including Gaines – to embrace acceptance of the LGBTQ+ agenda.
“Recently in Vermont, we were the first state to pass civil unions, and our incumbent governor who signed that bill nearly lost his re-election,” Welch said. “And many of the arguments being made here about why that would be bad dissolved because once the law was passed and people were together, then what before had been seen as wrong, we were allowed to see what love existed between these people.”
“We’re just all trying to figure out life, and who we are, and how we can be who we are and be fully, fully engaged in being a generous, open and loving person to everyone else…. So, the Equality Act, I think, is so important because it acknowledges with the force of law that LGBTQ+ folks are entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else….I come down on the side of just accept that people’s struggles are and there’s a lot of power in accepting, in acceptance.”
The entire hearing, including unexcerpted statements made by Welch and Gaines, can be seen here.