All-American Swimmer and Women’s Rights Activist Riley Gaines visits Mississippi
(Jackson, MS): The Mississippi Center for Public Policy hosted 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines at River Hills Club of Jackson on Thursday to promote a Women’s Bill of Rights in Mississippi.
Gaines was on her way to winning a national title at the NCAA swimming championship in 2022 when she tied with a female-identifying, transgender athlete who previously lived as a man.
In an effort to spread awareness of fairness and keep women in women’s sports, Gaines travels the country promoting women’s rights. She has gained popularity through her willingness to speak out against injustice and a large following on TikTok.
With the help of the Independent Women’s Forum, Gaines has been an avid proponent of a “Women’s Bill of Rights,” a growing phenomenon across the country. This bill codifies the definition of a woman and protects single-sex spaces.
This legislation, titled “The Title IX Preservation Act,” was introduced during the 2023 Legislative Session, with versions from Rep. Jill Ford, Rep. Stacey Wilkes, Sen. Angela Hill and Sen. Jenifer Branning, but sadly all died in committee. Mississippi Center for Public Policy is hopeful for the bill’s reintroduction in the 2024 Legislative Session and will be advocating heavily for its passage.
“Mississippi was one of the first states to ensure there were women-only sports. So, Mississippi was ahead of the curve there, which is phenomenal, but what good is that bill if we can’t define the term ‘woman?’” Gaines said. “It’s crucial that we’re able to do so to protect women, not just in sports, but in any law that mentions the term ‘woman.’”
Gaines was also joined Thursday by Independent Women’s Forum policy analyst Mandy Gunasekara. Gunasekara, who previously served for the Trump Administration as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff, said she wants to ensure her home state is moving forward, not backward in protecting the rights of women.
Nearly 100 individuals attended the event, getting to visit with Gaines and Gunasekara afterward.