Riley Gaines, a former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimmer, was physically assaulted Thursday night at San Francisco State University (SFSU) after giving a speech on protecting women’s sports.
After the assault, trans activists surrounded her and backed her into a room where she was barricaded for almost three hours.
“The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU … I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man,” Gaines posted in a Tweet. “This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces.”
Gaines, 22, was marginalized in an NCAA Women’s Championship competition in favor of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in 2022 and has spoken out against males participating as females in women’s sports.
Gaines had set six records at the University of Kentucky and is a three-time NCAA championship qualifier and a U.S. Olympic qualifier.
Thomas had been allowed to compete in Gaines’ division after competing in the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swim team for three years.
Gaines competed against Thomas in the 200-meter freestyle, which resulted in a tie for fifth place, but the NCAA awarded the trophy to Thomas.
Without the consent of the female athletes, Gaines said Thomas was also allowed to use the women’s locker room, and in frequent interviews, has discussed not only the awkwardness but the trauma of the encounters with the male Thomas being in the female locker room.
Gaines, in a text message to The Epoch Times after the attack on Friday, said she was fine, adding that, “We live in an upside down universe.”
“The pendulum has swung too far. Women should not be put in danger because we feel uncomfortable sharing a changing space with someone of the opposite sex. We shouldn’t be put in danger because we want our sports to be safe and fair. We have the right to express this without being mobbed,” Gaines wrote.
The swimmer further suggested that this incident would prompt the Biden administration to “release a statement expressing how this further endangers the LGBTQ community and continue to preach ‘inclusion’ no matter what females are hurt or excluded in the process.”
Surrounded by Trans Activists
Surrounded by trans activists, Gaines still managed to film the encounter as she was backed into a room.
In the video, Gaines is pursued by trans activists yelling profanities and chanting, “Trans rights are human rights,” while people are filming and taking photos.
Gaines was giving her speech during a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) event being held at the university.
TPUSA is a conservative non-profit organization with a mission to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
In 2022, The View host Whoopi Goldberg issued an apology after comparing members of TPUSA to “neo-Nazi demonstrators.”
In a Twitter post, the Golden Gate Xpress, SFSU’s student-run newspaper, framed Gaines’s retreat as her being “escorted out of the event into a side hallway in the HSS building.”
A later Twitter post by the school newspaper showed TPUSA student members waiting in a room to be escorted out of the building.
TPUSA Founder Charlie Kirk posted on Twitter about the assault, stating, “This is unacceptable at an American college campus, even in San Francisco. Pray for Riley Gaines and our brave students at SFSU.”
Free Speech Defense Organization Condemns Assault
Amanda Nordstrom, program officer with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)—an organization that defends freedom of speech on and off campuses through student and faculty outreach, education initiatives, and advocacy—condemned the assault and encouraged SFSU to “examine its failures last night and ensure a plan is in place to protect free speech for everyone, no matter their views.”
“Mob censorship is never an appropriate reaction to speech, even and especially speech that some consider controversial, and the First Amendment does not protect silencing speakers via disruption,” Nordstrom said. “Public universities have a non-negotiable duty to ensure protected speech can occur on campus—without violence or intimidation. When campus speaking events become battlegrounds, all students suffer because they are deprived of opportunities to hear other perspectives and engage with ideas civilly.”
‘Hit Multiple Times by a Guy in a Dress’
Riley’s husband, Louis Barker, told Fox News that in his conversations with her while she was barricaded, “She told me she was hit multiple times by a guy in a dress. I was shaking. It made me that mad. It makes me sick to feel so helpless about it,” Barker said. “She was under police protection and was still hit by a man wearing a dress.”
Eli Bremer, Gaines’ agent, told Fox News that Gaines was speaking at the university to share her story of competing against Thomas.
“In the past year, her goal in speaking at universities has been to educate her peers about her experience and what the impact of the growing number of biological males in women’s sports will do to the integrity of Title IX,” Bremer said.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in programs or activities that receive funds from the government.
Passed in 1972, it is now being used by the transgender community to argue for the right of males who identify as transgender to participate in female sports.
“She has been questioned in civil and somewhat uncivil manners about her views many times, and she thoroughly encourages diverse viewpoints and debate on this issue,” Bremer said. “Instead of a thoughtful discussion tonight at SFSU, Riley was violently accosted, shouted at, physically assaulted, and barricaded in a room by protestors. It is stunning that in America in 2023, it is acceptable for biological male students to violently assault a woman for standing up for women’s rights.”
‘When They Want You Silent, Speak Louder’
Bremer said Gaines isn’t letting this stop her, echoing her Tweet when she stated, “Still only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.”
Gaines remains committed to “boldly educating people” on the ethical problems with biological males participating in women’s sports.
“She will continue to speak the truth against the radical left that no longer understands the difference between men and women,” Bremer said.
The Epoch Times contacted SFSU for comment on the assaults. The University Police Department said: “We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the situation. There were no arrests related to the event. The disruption occurred after the event’s conclusion, which made it necessary for UPD officers to move the event speaker from the room to a different, safe location.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.
Terri Wu contributed to this report.
The article was updated to include a statement from Gaines.
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