During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans" this week, former NCAA swimming standout Riley Gaines argued that comments from the president of the far-left Human Rights Campaign about Serena Williams were not accurate.
HRC President Kelley Robinson recently said Williams could beat men in a game of tennis during the hearing.
"There's been this news article about men that think they can beat Serena Williams in tennis," Robinson said. "And it's just not the case. She is stronger than them."
But Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer who tied with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in 2022, said in response: "Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd ranked male tennis player," Fox News reports.
Here are three takeaways from Gaines' testimony:
1. She said competing against a transgender athlete felt like a "betrayal."
Gaines competed against Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle race in the 2022 championships. Thomas had previously competed as a male swimmer for three seasons before switching to compete in the women's league under the name Lia.
The two tied for 5th, but Gaines said only Thomas received a trophy because it was needed for "picture purposes."
"I felt betrayed; I felt belittled. I felt reduced to a photo-op," she said. "But my feelings didn't matter. What mattered to the NCAA were the feelings of a biological male," The Christian Post reports.
2. She said she shared a locker room with Thomas.
Gaines said the NCAA placed Thomas in the women's locker room at competitions, but she said the other women were not asked about it.
"And I'll set the scene — a swimming locker room is not a place of modesty," she said. "You're undressing, you're fully exposed, and we were forced to take off our swimsuit[s] in front of a man who was doing the exact same thing."
According to the National Review, Thomas is described as a 6'2", 22-year-old male equipped with male genitalia.
3. Gaines testified that Serena Williams and sister, Venus, have previously played and lost to male competitors.
She said that in 1998, both lost to Kirsten Braasch, a player ranked 203rd overall in the men's circuit.
Serena has also said she played male tennis player Andy Murray, a three-time grand slam winner. He beat her "6-0, 6-0 in 5 to 6 minutes," she said.
Gaines added that her husband was also an NCAA athlete, but while she is more decorated than him, he is a stronger swimmer.
"My experience, my husband, he swam at the University of Kentucky as well," Gaines said. "In terms of accolades, in terms of national ranking, I was a much better swimmer than him. He could kick my butt any day of the week — without trying."
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.