California representative Katie Porter said swimmer Riley Gaines was publicly critical of transgender-identifying athletes in women’s sports for “likes and clicks.”
During a Friday appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, the guest panel consisting of the California representative along with journalist Piers Morgan discussed recent controversy regarding swimmer Riley Gaines’ appearance at San Francisco State University discussing rights in women’s sports.
Porter said the decision to include transgender-identifying athletes in women’s sports should be made by sporting bodies to which Morgan pushed back on the California representative.
“What has she said that’s actually wrong?” Morgan asked.
Porter hesitated for a moment before suggesting people use situations to get “likes and clicks.”
“All I’ve seen her do is stand up for women’s rights. She actually competed against Lia Thomas, and it was obviously unfair,” Morgan said. “Lia Thomas won one of the NCAA races by 50 seconds against a bunch of biological females who simply could not keep up. That cannot be right. That cannot be fair.”
The audience broke into applause at Morgan’s comment.
Piers Morgan and Bill Maher say Riley Gaines is standing up for female athletes worldwide, Lia Thomas has no place in women's swimming, and it's wrong to allow transgender athletes to decimate women's sports records:
Rep. Katie Porter: "[Riley Gaines] is doing this for likes and… pic.twitter.com/DPcIG3W2Or
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) April 16, 2023
“That is something I trust … I think our sporting bodies should be dealing with,” Porter responded. “Riley is speaking up for herself, and that is her perogative.”
“I respect her free speech.”
Morgan countered Porter by saying Gaines was “speaking up for every female athlete in the world.”
Host Maher noted Title IX, introduced in 1972, was enacted to protect people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
“It was a major event in feminism that we finally have this law that says at Colleges … and high schools too … women’s sports have to be given equal to men’s sports,” he continued, noting the creation of women’s divisions of sports including the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA).
“There seem to be so many instances where wokeness is the opposite of what I grew up as liberalism,” Maher continued. “Liberalism was, let’s give the women an equal shot. This is, let’s put a male in the swimming pool with the women.”
The journalist echoed Maher’s sentiment by noting transgender-identifying people who genuinely wanted to compete were also suffering.
“They need to be found a way to compete fairly and justly,” Morgan said. “They either compete as biological sex, as many of them did before, or you create an entire new category for transgender athletes.”
“You cannot continue to allow transgender athletes to decimate women’s records, in some cases irrevocably,” he continued. “It’s just not fair.”
In January, the California representative announced her 2024 bid for the United States Senate.
Porter, along with fellow California representative Adam Schiff, are seeking to fill Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the upcoming election. Feinstein, who previously served as Mayor of San Francisco, has served as a Senator for California since 1992.
Fellow California Senator Alex Padilla assumed Vice President Kamala Harris’ Senate seat following the 2020 Presidential Election. Padilla finished the two years left in Harris’ term and secured a full Senate term in the 2022 Midterm election.