Home Christian News All-American Swimmer Riley Gaines Urges Church Leaders To Stand for Biblical Sexuality...

All-American Swimmer Riley Gaines Urges Church Leaders To Stand for Biblical Sexuality at Strong Church Dream Conference

Riley Gaines at Strong Church Dream Conference 2024
Riley Gaines at Strong Church Dream Conference 2024 - Photo credit: Jesse Jackson

Twelve-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, a 23-year-old who advocates against trans athletes competing in women’s sports, addressed a room full of ministry leaders at Dream City Church and TPUSA Faith’s Strong Church Dream Conference in Phoenix on Tuesday (Feb. 27).

Gaines, who won five SEC titles while swimming at the University of Kentucky, was forced to swim against trans athlete Lia Thomas during the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship. Gaines tied with Thomas and was then forced to share the trophy on the podium—even being told to let Thomas hold the trophy during photo shoots.

“I can attest to the tears that I witnessed from finishers who missed being named an All-American by one place,” Gaines said. “I can attest to the extreme discomfort in the locker room from 18-year-old girls exposed to male body parts and having to undress with a male watching in the same room.”

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Gaines has testified before the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and countless state legislatures and has advocated for women on many college campuses. Last April, Gaines had to barricade herself in a room on the campus of San Francisco State University after she was hit multiple times by a man wearing a dress for speaking to students about preserving women’s sports.

Alongside police, Gaines was barricaded in the room for nearly three hours before the authorities deemed it safe to open the door.

On Tuesday, Gaines shared her testimony with the church leaders with the hope of encouraging them to stand against the attack on biblical sexuality, especially when it comes to trans athletes competing in women’s sports.

ChurchLeaders sat down with Gaines and asked her how important her faith is in fighting for equality in women’s sports. “It is so much bigger than I ever could have fathomed,” she said.

Gaines shared that she has had her eyes opened to many things in the past year, including “how our political sphere works, the vicious cycle of the media, and the inner workings of academia.” But the area where her eyes have been opened the most has been “spiritually.”

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“God says a lot about the cultural issues that are plaguing this country now,” she added. “Once you see it, once you read it, and once you understand it…you can’t ignore it.”

The importance of her faith is “so much bigger than I could have imagined,” Gaines said. “I don’t know how people who don’t have faith do it.”