BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Earlier this year, the Governor signed two laws in part of a package of anti-transgender legislation.

North Dakota is one of a few states to bar transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams, starting from kindergarten, all the way through college.

“I waited for someone to stick up for us because I thought someone would,” said Riley Gaines. 

“My initial thought is how did we even get here?” asked Naomi Chaffe. 

World-renowned swimmer and advocate, Riley Gaines has made mainstream news and social media for her stance on transgenders in athletics.

Gaines swam competitively for the University of Kentucky and tied transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, last year, for fifth place in the women’s 200m event. Ultimately, Thomas was announced the winner.

As she makes her way through the nation sharing her story, Gaines ended up in Bismarck with local advocate and podcast host, Naomi Chaffee who stands behind her on these issues.

“How did we get to a point where we let gender identity, which is not even a real thing, it’s a societal construct so it’s not real. How did we get to a point in society where we let those things try to change science and biology? Because there’s a man and a woman, there’s not anything else. Sex is biology, it’s not a spectrum. Because, Leah Thomas, that’s the guy’s name, was doing super horrible in the men’s swimming, he was not doing great. And then he goes over to women’s swimming. He’s like, oh yeah, now I’m like placing fifth or first or whatever. And I’m just like, how do people not see that that’s immoral?” said Chaffe. 

Many laws and elected officials use the verbiage biological male and or female when discussing transgender issues.

The two advocates share that they are done with that language.

“It matters. The emphasis we put on words, it influences our behaviors and what these words really mean, how we use them. So when we use the word biological woman or biological man, whatever that might be, it’s almost as if we’re subconsciously admitting that there’s an unbiological alternative. I adhered to this for a long time. I called myself a biological woman because I thought I had to make the distinction. But the only distinction we will ever need was the distinction God gave us when he created man and woman. So adding that prefix biological, it’s redundant and it’s not needed. So I’m no longer referring to myself as a biological woman or referring to Thomas as a biological male, just a male and I’m just a female,” said Gaines. 

But why does this mean so much to them?

“Because if they can’t define what a woman is, what do we do about all of the bills or the amendments that have to do with women that give us our rights? We can’t define a woman so why do we have them?” said Chaffe. 

Both Gaines and Chaffe share they feel there are actions parents and students can take.

“Parents are involved, whether that’s the school board, whatever that looks like, be involved and be willing to defend your daughters,” said Gaines. 

“The things that Turning Point USA Faith does, we go to school board meetings, we look at bills to see if they’re biblical or not, and then you know those individuals can go and testify we go to public comments. There was something that was so interesting that just happened so on the capital website there was a marriage and family licensing board or whatever they were having a meeting but they didn’t publicize it and it was in regards to conversion therapy and detransitioning, they didn’t tell the public about it. There’s a couple more that we want to do, but it’s so important that we educate and equip these people to go out and make actual change,” said Gaines. 

Gaines shares that the issue is beyond women’s sports, she feels as if her truth is being denied.

KX News will next reach out to advocates in support of transgenders in athletics to hear their side soon.