Having a locker room with the transgender athlete she competed against caused “extreme discomfort,” according to a former collegiate swimmer, Riley Gaines Barker who has been open in her criticism of Lia Thomas.
Riley Gaines, a competitive swimmer for the University of Kentucky, complained to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that it bothered her to change in a locker room with someone who had “different parts” and that Thomas’ usage of the women’s restrooms had not been made clear by the organizers at that time.
“That’s not something we were forewarned about, which I don’t think is right in any means, changing in a locker room with someone who has different parts,” Gaines said in an interview with the conservative talk show host.
The college athlete who graduated this year has repeatedly knocked Thomas for her participation in women’s swimming — saying Thomas, who was born male, has an unfair biological advantage.
“So not only were we forced to race against a male, we were forced to change in the locker room with one,” Gaines said on Wednesday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Today.”
“Then we’re sitting there not even knowing who to talk to, who to complain to because this kind of all happened behind the scenes and very discreetly.”
Gaines claimed that the National Collegiate Athletic Association had not done enough to preserve the integrity of women’s sports.
Gaines and Thomas tied for fifth place in the 200-meter freestyle NCAA finals in March, and even then, Gaines has been vocal in her criticism of Thomas.
Gaines criticized the University of Pennsylvania for putting Thomas forward for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s “Woman of the Year” award in 2022 earlier this month.
“This is yet another slap in the face to women,” Gaines, who was also nominated for the award, tweeted. “First a female national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. The @NCAA has made this award worthless.”
In April, Gaines first spoke with Carlson on Thomas’ participation in women’s swimming.
Gaines stated at the time that she believed it was unjust to be compelled to compete against Thomas and that the majority of female athletes she knew felt the same way.
“We’re dealing with something that’s completely out of our control when we’re racing, biological males,” she said in the April interview. “Whether they have different lung capacities, their height, testosterone levels whether they’ve used testosterone blockers or not — it doesn’t suppress going through puberty as a male. Especially Lia, who swam for three years as a male.”
“It’s completely unfair and it’s a matter of equity, really,” Gaines added.
The world swimming governing organization, FINA, effectively banned transgender women from competing in elite women’s competitions last month as a result of the issue surrounding transgender women in sports.