Riley Gaines And Fellow Activists Targeted And Attacked By Hostile Protesters At Ceremonial Bill Signing In Texas

 August 8, 2023

On Monday, former NCAA Division 1 athletes, Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan, were among those who were targeted by "hostile" protesters that gathered in Texas - in opposition of the "Save Women’s Sports Act." There, for a ceremonial signing of the bill, which was previously signed into law in June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was joined by Gaines and Scanlan at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.

Riley Gaines, formerly had gained prominence, for speaking out when she was forced to compete against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in 2022.  Gaines is a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer.

According to those in attendance, protesters that gathered at the event threw items and spat at those who gathered in support of the legislation. Reportedly, Michelle Evans, Independent Women's Network's Austin chapter leader, said that after the event, that she was assaulted when she left the building to observe the protest, which she estimated to be a crowd of around 250.

"It was — I guess the best word to describe them was they were rabid”…"When I turned around to go back inside of the building, that's when somebody threw water on me," …"Somebody told me they know where I f---ing live. There was somebody that got in front of me to try to physically block me from going back inside and pushed her body up against mine. Somebody hit my arm, and then someone — a woman in a pink ski mask and sunglasses — spit into my open eye."

-Michelle Evans, Independent Women's Network's Austin Chapter Leader

She told law enforcement that she wanted to press charges, when a suspect was apprehended. However, she was told by police that the suspect would be issued a ticket for a misdemeanor assault. Evans said she was most alarmed by the treatment of the young girls that had attended the signing. Of the protest she said-

"As they were being walked out by their mothers, and there was a police officer in front and in back of them, the protesters were getting in the kids' faces and screaming and harassing them, frightening them. It was out of control."

-Michelle Evans, Independent Women's Network's Austin Chapter Leader

Reportedly, Gaines also shared her observations of the protest. She told Fox News in her statement-

"Even in the great state of [Texas], protestors have tried to find a way to smear the celebration of Governor Abbott signing SB 15 which protects female collegiate athletics. But they can't”…"Today is a huge win and Gov. Abbott's leadership is foundational and I'm hopeful more states will follow suit." She added…"Bottles are being thrown, protestors are spitting in people's faces, profanity is being yelled at children. Law enforcement has stepped in and provided protection."

-Riley Gaines,12-time NCAA All-American Swimmer

Paula Scanlan, a Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer, posted on social media (Twitter now known as X) that protesters blocked the exits and were-

"spitting and yelling." …"Craziness of today aside, I was finally able to exit the event safely”. "Although crowds of people may call us names, we prevailed today in the state of Texas. Our work is not finished and I hope other states will follow in the footsteps of Texas."

-Paula Scanlan, Former University of Pennsylvania Swimmer,

Macy Petty, Lee University volleyball player, who was also in attendance, said on X (formerly Twitter) that the protesters were "extremely hostile". She detailed some of what was allegedly shouted at them - "Trans rights are human rights." A video clip showed protesters getting in the face of young girls as they were escorted outside.

At the end of Monday’s event. Gov. Abbott was also asked about the protests. He told reporters.-

"I wish that they could have peacefully heard what Paula and Riley had to say "Any reasonable person would agree.”… “They should not have had to have gone through what they went through. Our goal is to make sure that what they went through is not going to be repeated again."

-Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

SB 15 follows a similar piece of legislation Abbott signed in 2021, that requires public school teams through high school in the state of Texas "to be designated by students’ sex assigned at birth."

Reportedly, at least 20 states have passed similar forms of legislation. SB 15 goes into effect in Texas on Sept. 1.

Evans reportedly told the outlet, that SB 15 is a positive sign towards ensuring women’s right, but added that greater action is needed. She said-

"We’re going in the right direction, we’re just going far too slowly,"…"Last week the governor of Oklahoma signed an executive order to make effective a women’s Bill of Rights in that state, that’s absolutely what we need in Texas and across the United States, making it very clear what the definitions of woman and man are in language and in law to protect women’s sex-based rights and protections." adding…"Sports is the tip of the iceberg, but the iceberg is much bigger than people are giving it credit for.”

-Michelle Evans, Independent Women's Network's Austin Chapter Leader

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

-Thomas Jefferson
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