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All-American Swimmer and Women’s Rights Activist Riley Gaines visits Mississippi

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 and Sen. Angela Hill, but sadly died in committee. Mississippi Center for Public Policy is hopeful for its reintroduction in the 2024 Legislative Session and will be advocating heavily for this bill’s 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. 

Click here to watch an interview of Riley Gaines with MCPP CEO & President Douglas Carswell.

MCPP will be hosting several other speakers in the coming weeks and months, including former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on March 23 and fossil fuel analyst Alex Epstein on April 18. 

Riley Gaines speaks to a crowd at River Hills Club. (By Amile Wilson)
Pictured above from left to right: MCPP Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs Tyler B. Jones, MCPP Director of Operations Anika Page, IWF Policy Analyst Mandy Gunasekara, All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, and MCPP CEO & President Douglas Carswell. (By Amile Wilson)

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