Today at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) Independent Women’s Forum and Illinois Freedom Caucus will hold a press conference in Springfield, IL across the street from the YMCA in support of 16-year-old high school swimmer Abbigail Wheeler, who was forced to share the YMCA women’s locker room with a biological male. After voicing her concerns and asking her club swim coach it was clear to Abbigail that the personal space meant for women would continue to be used by anyone who claims the identity of a woman. Abbigail and her female teammates decided to make pro-woman signs and hang them in the YMCA women’s locker room. Deeming her actions “hate speech,” her coach kicked her off of the club team and the YMCA banned her from their facilities.

Watch the press conference and join the conversation using the hashtag #AbbigailsArmy. Read the press release and hear from Abbigail’s family, Riley Gaines, and Paula Scanlan HERE.


  • Abbigail Wheeler, sixteen-year-old swimmer at the Springfield Illinois YMCA who was kicked off the club swim team and banned from the YMCA for expressing her concerns over sharing the women’s locker room with a biological man;
  • Kaitlynn Wheeler, former NCAA D1 swimmer from the University of Kentucky who experienced changing in the women’s locker room alongside Lia Thomas at the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, she was not ask for, nor did she give, her consent 
  • Dan Wheeler, father to Abbigail and Kaitlynn Wheeler; and
  • Paula Scanlan, former NCAA D1 swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania swimmer and ex-teammate of Lia Thomas.

WHERE: Rotary Park, Springfield, IL (directly across W. Iles Avenue from Springfield YMCA)

Abbigail Wheeler, at the YMCA, protested sharing the locker room with a biological male by posting signs in the locker room that read, “Women’s Rights,” “Biological Women Only,” and “Safe Sport.”