Riley Gaines is an American former competitive swimmer from Gallatin, Tennessee, who competed for the University of Kentucky NCAA swim team and was the 2022 Southeastern Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She is also an activist calling for female-only spaces after being forced to change with—and compete against—a biological male named Lia Thomas. This has turned her into the primary target of LGBT activists who have deluged her with mockery, contempt, and vile smears.
Enter Dr. Katja Thieme, a journalism professor at the University of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most prestigious campuses. Thieme identifies as “she/they” and her Twitter profile is everything you’d expect from someone with those pronouns. Her response to the testimony of Riley Gaines is a textbook case study in the sort of cruel gaslighting we have seen escalating over the past few years, as young girls are told to shut their mouths and check their bigotry when they wonder aloud why they are being forced to change with biological men.
“[Gaines] talks about seeing Thomas naked in the changeroom. And how terrible that was,” Thieme tweeted. “I’m sorry, what?” It is apparently unfathomable to her that many girls are, in fact, uncomfortable with males seeing them naked in what were once female-only spaces. Thieme continues in a Twitter thread:
There’s a case of a 16yo swimmer at a YMCA club that’s currently on Gaines‘ timeline. Let‘s use it to summarize how these encounters are turned into anti-trans activism.
1) Teenage girl on the swim team sees or claims to have seen a trans person in the nude in the women’s changeroom. Her anti-trans parent or parents kick into high gear.
2) They lean on coaches: Tell trans folk to change elsewhere. Coach says, no, we can’t, that’s discriminatory.
3) They lean on the club admin: Send a warning message to all members that trans folk are using these facilities. Admin says, hell no, that’s crazy and would be very wrong.
4) They contact Riley Gaines or other transphobes of their choice, they organize protests, events, meetings, hearings, and whatnot.
And, here’s the really vile part, at each of these points they talk loudly and incessantly of that one (or maybe several) trans woman’s genitalia. Hard to express how horrid that is. Imagine there is something about your body that, when nude, is noticeably different from your team members’ bodies. Each day you change with them in and out of swim clothes. One day one of the white conservative girls who sees you change decides to make a public career out of having seen you naked. Her parents do all they can to help launch her public profile. They loudly repeat the same dismissive comments about your naked body to any journalists and politicians who will listen.
See what Thieme did there? A young man with a fully functioning penis identifies as a woman, joins the girls’ swim team, and starts cleaning house in competitions while changing with the girls. Some girls—those who dare speak out at all—object. And the response of this journalism professor is to condemn the girls as “transphobes” and insist that the girls are vile for noticing that there is a man with a penis changing with them. The “something about your body” Thieme is talking about is the male sex organ.
So, let’s do what Thieme just did. Here’s how trans activist gaslighting works:
- A biological male identifies as a girl and is permitted, for the first time in American history, to change, shower, and use the bathroom with the girls.
- Some girls feel unsafe or even fearful—including victims of sexual assault who are triggered by the male bodies of strangers for what were once obvious reasons. Some ask for their privacy to be preserved.
- LGBT activists such as Dr. Thieme call the girls names, claim that even noticing the male genitalia being exposed in their changerooms is “vile” and bigoted, and insist that the girls objecting are part of a “backlash” that is causing harm to the young men stripping off in their changerooms.
And what do you think Thieme’s solution to the female desire for privacy is? I’ll quote her directly and in full—it’s that hard to believe:
Hey, want to know one of my all time excellent parenting ideas? Let. Little. Children. See. Penises. And. Vulvas. Of. Various. Ages. And. Sizes. In. A. Casual. Normalized. Totally. Safe. Way. The world will thank you for it. And so will those children when they grow up.
Just imagine if the Riley Gaines‘ of this society could totally keep their cool at the sight of a trans dick. And just imagine if the Riley Gaines’ parents were like, yeah, that happens, it’s okay, now let’s talk about your upcoming training schedule.
Let me sum that up in case anybody is missing the point: That is an adult professor from a prestigious university advocating that “little children”—her words, not mine—should see “penises and vulvas” of all kinds so that when they become teenagers and a biological male wants to use the female changeroom, these children “could totally keep their cool at the sight of a trans dick.”