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CSU TPUSA hosts Riley Gaines’ Reclaim Feminism event

Collegian | Aria Paul
Former competitive swimmer for the University of Kentucky Riley Gaines speaks for CSU’s student chapter of Turning Point USA April 3. “There was nothing we could do as female athletes,” Gaines said. “I got to personally witness and really feel the effect that this infringement — or what I would call an injustice — had on myself and my teammates and competitors.”

Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines came to Colorado State University’s campus to give a talk at an event entitled Reclaim Feminism.

The event was headed by The Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute and the CSU chapter of Turning Point USA Wednesday, April 3.


Gaines, founder of The Riley Gaines Center, is outwardly opposed to transgender athletes in women’s sports and is actively pursuing a lawsuit against the NCAA for the presence of transgender athletes in women’s sports.

The lawsuit, citing Title IX violations, also includes many other collegiate and professional athletes.

Off the back of Gaines’ lawsuit against the NCAA, Colorado Representative Richard Holtorf told parents in the crowd to pursue lawsuits of their own.

“The school board and these departments of education, including higher education, are drinking a lot of this woke Kool-Aid,” Holtorf said. “Now, here’s where you really get serious. Has anybody heard of civil litigation? If you infringe upon my rights, I have the right to sue you, simply.”

The crowd comprised a mixed bag of Fort Collins residents and CSU students as well as many student-athletes.

Gaines’ status as a former collegiate swimmer led to many members of the CSU swim team attending the talk.

“I think reclaiming feminism is sticking up for women,” CSU swimmer Lexie Trietley said. “Everything they talked about — you work hard, and you dedicate your life for something, and then you’re forced to compete against someone who’s biologically a man — it’s hard. It definitely needs to be more public and addressed.”

There was not much publicity generated for the event, but the turnout filled a classroom in the Glover Building.

“For Turning Point, it is giving feminism back to biological girls,” President of CSU Turning Point Ben Kolb said. “The whole point of this was giving biological girls in sports the understanding that if they’re uncomfortable with something that it’s not bad to speak out. We are listening to them as women.”


Gaines centered her speech on her personal beliefs of how Christianity intertwines with gender identity, saying the NCAA is denying reality.

“We are denying, of course, biblical truth but objective truth,” Gaines said. “The most basic of truths at that: man and woman. The sheer essence of humanity. … You’re only here from man and woman, and we’re being asked to deny that.”

After her speech, Gaines welcomed Holtorf to continue her rhetoric of Christian-based gender legislation.

Holtorf represents the 63rd district in eastern Colorado and previously referred to transgender identities as a cult during Colorado house debates surrounding measures to allow transgender and nonbinary Coloradans to more easily use their preferred names.

“This is the devil’s work,” Holtorf said after Gaines’ speech. “This is Satan trying to make all of us confused. … (This is) the woke, transgender — and I call it a ‘transgender cult.’ This is a cult now; this is a cultlike following in this country that is being peddled and sold just like all of the other cults.”

Kolb commented on how political affiliations should not impede difficult conversations. 

“To the CSU community, I really hope that it sheds some light on the idea that we can all disagree — we can have conversation — but still get along and do that in a civil manner,” Kolb said. “At least, that’s what I’m here for. I’m all about bridging the gap. I’m all about that conversation between the political sides because we as people are so much bigger than politics.”

Reach Liv Sewell at or on Twitter @Liv_sewell22.

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    Claire PickerelApr 5, 2024 at 8:41 pm

    “We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
    – James Baldwin