Approximately 250 transgender activists gathered at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in Texas Woman’s University, Denton, as Governor Greg Abbott signed the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” This legislation aims to place limitations on transgender athletes competing in most women’s college sports. The signing ceremony was attended by Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimming champion turned vocal advocate against transgender women competing in women’s sports. The event also drew a group of young girls, some as young as five, who wanted to witness this historic moment.
However, the atmosphere turned tense as the transgender activists confronted those in attendance, adopting aggressive tactics. Some protesters got in the faces of attendees, and there were reports of objects being thrown and even water being splashed on individuals, including Michelle Evans, the leader of the Independent Women’s Network’s Austin chapter. This confrontational behavior led Evans to describe the protesters as “rabid,” highlighting the extreme nature of their actions.
Riley Gaines, the former NCAA swimming champion, shared her perspective on the protest, emphasizing that even though the protesters tried to mar the event, Governor Abbott’s signing of SB 15 was a significant victory for protecting female collegiate athletics. She commended Abbott’s leadership and expressed hope that more states would follow suit in enacting similar legislation. Gaines also reported that law enforcement intervened to ensure the safety of those present, as the protesters’ actions escalated.
Several attendees, including Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer, documented the chaotic scene on social media. Protesters were reportedly blocking exits and resorting to yelling, spitting, and other unruly behavior. Governor Abbott himself responded to the protesters, pointing out that those who had gone through rigorous training, like Riley and Paula, understood the challenges of women’s sports better than the demonstrators who were causing a disturbance.
Curiously, CBS News reported on the demonstration without highlighting the aggressive behavior of the protesters. The report focused on the chants of “protect trans lives” and the grievances of activists who believe that the new state law disregards transgender individuals’ rights. Governor Abbott reiterated his commitment to protecting the rights of biological women in sports and suggested that the broader implications of this issue deserve more attention than they are currently receiving.