Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeColumnsTim Barto: Riley Gaines' objective is to save girls' sports, but that's...

Tim Barto: Riley Gaines’ objective is to save girls’ sports, but that’s not how it is being reported


Evidently, many of us got it wrong when we celebrated saving girls’ sports for girls last week.

- Advertisement -

What the State Board of Education did, according to news sources not named Must Read Alaska or The Watchman, was ban transgender athletes from competing on girls’ teams. The take was that the Board’s actions would keep transgender athletes – biological males who self-identify as females – from playing with and against true females in competitive events. 

This type of thinking and  over  under analysis is indicative of the focus on victimhood that the transgender movement, indeed almost all leftist movements, promote. And it is what former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines is up against as she fights the insane idea of letting biological males compete as females.

For those of you not familiar with her story, Riley Gaines was a first team all-conference athlete  who tied for fifth place in the 2022 NCAA 200-yard freestyle championship.

The swimmer whom she tied was from the University of Pennsylvania. From 2018 to 2020, this UPenn swimmer competed on the school’s men’s team as William Thomas. Then, he decided he was actually a woman, so he changed his first name to Lia and his school and the NCAA went along with the charade, allowing him to compete on the women’s team.

Thomas won the 500-yard women’s freestyle in 2022, claiming the exalted title as the first transgender athlete to win a women’s NCAA championship. He also tied Riley for that fifth place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, but was the one publicly awarded the fifth place trophy because the NCAA wanted to do it that way, presumably to fully display their wokeness. Riley received her trophy in the mail.

Riley has taken that most unjust experience and used it in a desperate effort to save women’s sports. Disappointed at the lack of outrage from female athletes whose hard work and love of sports are being usurped by a man who thinks he’s a woman, Riley filled the leadership void by speaking out loudly and often. 

She, being gifted with common sense and the ability to tell men from females, acknowledges the need for female sports. Males, at least past the onset of puberty, are bigger, faster, and stronger, so if girls and women are to have the opportunities to participate fairly in sports then a distinct category for them must exist.

That is what Title IX was all about. Passed into federal law in 1972, when only about 320,000 girls and women were participating in high school and collegiate sports, Title IX has helped catapult that number to over 3.6 million. The goal was to ensure equal opportunity for female athletes. Title IX acknowledges that separate sports programs are needed because females can’t compete on the same level as men. 

Feminists lauded Title IX because it gave more equal opportunities for female athletes, but now many self-proclaimed feminists are joining the call for the inclusion of biological men in women’s sports. After 50 years of arguing that female athletes need exclusivity, they are now arguing that women’s sports should be inclusive to men . . . who identify as women, to be sure, but men, nonetheless. 

This absurd twist of logic, common sense, and science has people on the left fired up. They are so convinced that transwomen are women they shout it at people who disagree. This was most notable when Riley visited San Francisco State University to speak on the matter. Nothing gets leftists angrier than people exercising their rights to free speech if the speaker doesn’t speak to their orthodoxy, and Riley was certainly going against their orthodoxy.

Shouted down and physically assaulted by a frenzied mob, Riley had to barricade herself for three hours from the proponents of tolerance because campus police and the administration did nothing to protect her. (University spokespeople did, however, offer an apology. They apologized to their trans community for the deeply traumatic episode they had to endure. Riley is suing.)

Riley is finally being joined by other true female athletes who also feel passionate about saving their sports, and that’s a good thing because it is that group that is being hurt the most, and it is that group that should have the say in how their sports are run. 

One such person who spoke out early on, and received the full brunt and hate of the alphabet mob is Kim Russell, the Women’s lacrosse coach at Oberlin College in Ohio. Russell was a two-sport athlete in college, then became a highly successful college coach.Her appearance and personality are anything but traditional conservative, as she is seen as a barefoot free spirit and referred to as “the hippie love coach,” a moniker she appreciates.

No matter. Even such typically progressive bonafides were not enough to assuage the insufferable intolerants that lead the movement that sees no distinction between women and men who decide they are women.

Following Thomas’s “victory” in the NCAA swimming championships, coach Russell had the temerity to write a public congratulations to the second place swimmer, Emma Weyant, referring to her as  “the real woman who won the NCAA 500-yard freestyle event.” 

The Oberlin College administration, as far left a group of academicians as you can find, would have none of that. Coach Russell was labeled transphobic and transgressive, words that would impress George Orwell himself, and was called in to face a verbal firing squad of administrators, mediators, and – worst of all – the young women she coached. She was accused of being hateful and was publicly questioned why she could not possibly think that a transwoman is a woman. 

Somehow, Russell mustered the strength and determination to continue coaching at Oberlin. But she has seen the darkness of intolerance and the spewing hatred that comes with daring to speak her mind and stand up for women athletes.

That is what we face as we joust at the sacred windmills of the left. Ideas that a few short years ago were considered ridiculous have now taken on meaning and given purpose for a portion of society that seems to be on a never ending search for meaning and purpose. 

Riley Gaines is not only gaining the ire of the radical left, but she is gaining the attention and respect of people who believe in the natural order of male and female, and who appreciate her courage. She and Kim Russell are fighting to save women’s sports, and they deserve our respect and support.

Tim Barto is a baseball coach and Vice President of Alaska Family Council.

Biden changes to Title IX will prohibit schools from completely banning transgenders from girls’ teams

Lia Thomas, transgender swimmer, just captured women’s NCAA title for 500-yard, and didn’t even break a sweat

International swimming rules: Transgender swimmers can only compete if transition treatments are started before puberty



  1. Consider that leftists are the ones who think I should be raped (by not owning a firearm to protect myself against men who are aggressive and can overpower me) and likewise think a fully intact male human can parade around in a dress (or a ladies’ swimsuit) and “become” female.


    I wonder what they think of their wives and girl children.

  2. An excellent podcast (just yesterday 9-10) with both Charlie and Riley …

  3. Riley is a true leader and I am proud to call her an American who stands up for herself and others in these dark times !
    Why don’t they just start a new category for transgenders and they can compete amongst themselves ?!
    We all know the answer is because they failed as athletes in the men’s classes and want to be recognized as dominant lol

  4. “ The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5 – KJV

    It’s amazing how the devil can trick so many people into going along with these heathens.

    • And its amazing how many people continue to use a work of Bronze Age Judaism to justify their opinions. I fully support what she is trying to do but you don’t help your argument by using mythology.

      • Did a memo go out? The usual suspects are all very lockstep in attacking faith today.

        There is more truth in Bronze Age Judaism than in all the wokeness in existence.

        One simple example. The reality of women wasn’t in question until about the time of George Floyd. Even Bronze Age Judaism knew the difference between girls and boys.

  5. Well it took about 50 years, but the chauvinists finally figured out another way to put women in their place. Now supposedly a guy in a dress/swimsuit is the BETTER woman. In typical fashion all those “enlightened” so-called feminists fall into line, which proofs they never believed the screeches they were selling. It is, as always, about dominance and power and if you want to be in the group, you better sell your soul and turn your brain off. Three cheers for Riley Gaines! A principled Lady who is not afraid to say it like it is!!

    • The physical and mental well being of children and especially aspiring young athletes would be enhanced if the mentally deranged male athletes werent trying to destroy the womens athletic division.
      Who is their next target? Annilhilate the special olympics records and steal the gold and glory from them?

      Are you not capable of seeing the root cause of the problem here or do you just like condemning those who are standing up for those who have been violated?
      Do some research and try to find the root cause of the problem Frank.

  6. Riley is an American hero. I pray god keeps her safe from these raving lunatics.

    What in the hell has this country slumped to. ?? O ya 1/10th of 1% of the unhinged. We can use these sexual deviants for sand bags in world war 3 .


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular