Anti-trans protesters to target NCAA convention, demanding ban on inclusion in sport

NCAA SWIMMING: MAR 18 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships

Anti-trans protestors, including former college swimmer Riley Gaines, have revealed plans to boycott the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) annual convention, in a bid to demand a ban on trans athletes competing in women’s events. 

Gaines will be joined by former University of Pennsylvania competitor Paula Scanlan – once a teammate of Lia Thomas, the first trans swimmer to win an NCAA division one title – parents, students and activists, on Thursday (11 January) at the convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

The conference, led by the Independent Women’s Forum Phoenix, will see the NCAA discuss safeguarding name, image and likeness rights of student athletes.

In an interview with, Scanlan spoke about being a “survivor of sexual assault” and claimed she was “forced to undress in front of a man every day before getting in the pool at Penn.”

Gaines, who has fiercely criticised trans women taking part in women’s sports, even claiming that trans women have an advantage in chess, said the NCAA is destroying the even playing field for female athletes. 

“Sex-based categories are important for competitive sports just like age classifications and weight categories,” Gaines said. “We are asking very little of the NCAA: maintain the fairness necessary for competition and safety.”

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Despite Gaines’ claims, studies continue to show that trans women have no advantage over other women when competing in sport, if existing rules are followed. 

Other groups planning to attend the protest include the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, the Women’s Liberation Front, Women’s Declaration International-USA, the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, Champion Women, and Concerned Women for America. 

They also plan to send a letter to NCAA president Charlie Baker opposing the association’s current trans student athlete participation policy, which enables transgender competitors to take part as they wish, based on testosterone levels. 

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