Riley Gaines out to end the use of 'biological' gender terminology

The former NCAA All-American swimmer says she realized ‘how much language matters’

In a slight flip of her script, former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines’ latest gender battle includes ending the term "biological" being used to describe birth-assigned sexes.

"Look, I'll be the first to say I adhered to this for a long time, too. I thought I had to make the distinction that I am, in fact, a biological woman," Gaines said Friday on "Varney & Co." "But it hit me a few weeks ago, really, what we were doing when we added that prefix of 'biological' because we're admitting there's an un-biological alternative, and there is not."

"There is man, there is woman, there's male, there's female, mother, father, boy, girl," she continued. "This idea of 'biological woman' is crazy."

Gaines has been an outspoken activist against bending to cultural gender norms after she tied for fifth place in the 2022 NCAA Swim Championships with transgender athlete Lia Thomas. Since then, Gaines has aimed to protect women's sports integrity by lobbying for legislation that prohibits biological males from competing in women’s sports in colleges and universities.


The Kentucky swim alum clarified Friday that she made the decision to drop the "biological" prefix when describing herself as a "woman" upon looking at it through the opposing side’s lens.

Riley Gaines speaks on conference stage

NCAA All-American and former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines said using the "biological" gender prefix "is crazy" on "Varney & Co." on Friday. (Reuters Photos)

"I don't think we realize how much language matters, how important it is, because when we use these words, we put emphasis behind them," Gaines explained.

"It dictates our well-being. It dictates what these words mean," she added. "And so I think God created the only distinction we'll ever need when He created man and woman."

Governing bodies of professional sports competitions, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), are "total cowards" when it comes to admitting physical advantages between males and females, according to Gaines.

"They have said that there is no presumptive advantage between the two sexes. And they've now taken all hands off deck. They're leaving each specific sport governing bodies to make the decision for their own sport," Gaines said.

She expanded that "the international governing body of swimming has created guidelines that say if you've gone through male puberty, you can't compete with women. But there are other sports like soccer, like weightlifting, that have not created those guidelines. So some sports are protected, some sports are not."

Ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, Gaines predicted that the athlete pool may see transgender competitors enter races opposite of their birth-assigned sex.


"As I said, they're spineless. They're following the money. They don't want lawsuits. They don't want to lose federal funding. None of that," Gaines said. "And so they choose to leave all hands off deck, which is a very unfortunate response, because it means that we as women, we as female athletes, are becoming collateral damage. We're being exploited in locker rooms where we have to risk our safety, especially in physical contact sports."

Neither the International Olympic Committee nor the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee immediately responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.