Transgender woman Rachel McKinnon wins cycling world championship
A transgender woman has won a world championship in cycling for the first time.
Rachel McKinnon won gold in the sprint at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships on Saturday.
McKinnon has faced backlash for her participation in the Los Angeles-based championships, with many people online accusing her of having an unfair advantage over her opponents.
The Canadian cyclist, who is also an assistant professor in the department of philosophy at South Carolina’s College of Charleston, has defended herself against the claims on Twitter.
In one post, she wrote: “I train 15-20hrs/week, twice/day 5-6 days/week. Yeah…I just jumped off the couch and won. Transphobic bigots, y’all.”
Responding to someone saying the athletes who came second and third were “robbed” and had to “smile and wave and pretend it was a fair sport,” she said: “Or maybe they actually think it’s fair (2nd place is a friend).
“Don’t objectify and use other women for your bigotry.”
McKinnon added in another tweet: “We’re disproportionately NOT GREAT at sport. We’re grossly underrepresented in elite sport.”
She noted that her performances have improved over time, that she didn’t place first in the qualifying sprint, and that current guidelines mean that she is actually placed at a disadvantage to other athletes.
“I’m still forced to have an unhealthily low endogenous testosterone value… it’s virtually undetectable it’s so low… way below the average for women,” wrote the champion.
In McKinnon’s native Canada, trans students are now able to compete on teams which are consistent with their gender identity, after a governing organisation changed its rules last month.
The move means that trans students in 56 third-level institutions in Canada are now allowed to play as the gender that they identify as, without getting hormone therapy.
In 2016, the International Olympics Committee scrapped a policy which meant trans athletes had to have undergone gender reassignment therapy followed by two years of hormone therapy in order to compete.
They now allow trans men to take part in men’s competitions without restriction, though trans female athletes have to show their testosterone level has been below a designated level for at least a year before competing.
Last year, trans boy Mack Beggs won the Texas wrestling title after being forced to compete in the female category because that was the sex recorded on his birth certificate.
The 17 year old won the Texas girls state championship in the 110-pound weight class, beating his opponent 12-2 after unsuccessfully pleading with authorities to let him wrestle in the competition’s male category.
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