In an interview Monday with Fox News, 16-year-old Abbigail Wheeler – who was a part of the YMCA swim team in Springfield, Illinois – shared her story regarding two biological males in the women's locker room. After expressing her concerns with both her head coach and the facility staff, she was told there was nothing they could do about it.
"[My coach] told me that the Y had known about this for a while, and there was nothing that they could do by Illinois state law," she recalled, describing the incident in April. "[They told me] if I was uncomfortable, I could use the family locker rooms or I could not change at the facility.
"When I voiced my concerns to my head coach and the CEO of the Y, I was basically told the same thing over and over."
In a follow-up story posted Tuesday morning, Fox News reports Wheeler was kicked off the team after admitting she and a teammate posted signs in May alerting other girls that biological males were allowed in the women's locker area. She disputes a written explanation from the Y's communications director that she left the team on her own accord.
Instead, Wheeler says, she was accused of "hate speech," not allowed to participate with the team, and asked to leave the pool area.
Riley Gaines (below), a former collegiate swimmer who is opposed to biological men competing in women's sports, encourages Wheeler, emphasizing that she is not alone and that it's "liberating" to speak the truth, no matter what.
"These people don't actually believe [what happened to Wheeler is right] – they're [just] willing to throw away their moral compass entirely out of the window," Gaines said during the same interview on Fox News. "We're seeing that not just in sports, but we're seeing it in corporate America, we're seeing it in the media. It's plaguing this country."
"You are in the majority," Gaines added, addressing Wheeler and her situation. "Know that really once you don't have to adhere to anyone – to the rules, the guidelines, any of that – it's liberating. It is liberating to say the truth. It feels like a weight is off your shoulders."