Cisgender cyclist slams ‘ridiculous’ anti-trans outrage after placing third behind two trans athletes

Trans women cycling

A cisgender cyclist who placed third in an amateur cycling championship behind two transgender athletes is calling out “ridiculous” anti-trans outrage.

Kristen Chalmers missed out on winning the Illinois cycling championships when two of her transgender co-competitors, Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson took home the gold and silver.

While placing third was no big deal to Chalmers, it was quickly picked up by anti-trans activists who are campaigning for trans women to be banned from women’s sports.

Cyclists and trans flag coliurs
Chalmers had no issue with coming third to her trans competitors – but everyone else seemed to. (Credit: Getty Images)

Right-wing news publications and individuals posted photos of Chalmers standing on the winner’s podium beside the first and second-place cyclists and whined that it was an infringement on women’s rights. Oh, the irony.

Now, Chalmers herself has spoken out and assured everyone who has expressed upset over her coming in third place that she really is fine, and everyone should probably just get a grip.

“I think it would be ridiculous to say my life is being ruined by getting third in this,” she told NBC News.

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“It would be ridiculous to sacrifice other people getting to have fun in a sport that they love on the weekends so that I could say I was a state champion.”

Chalmers reiterated that this had only been an amateur race with just five competitors, and added that having Johnson and Williamson to compete with made the competition more exciting.

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The peloton rides along Gorge Road during stage three of the Women's Tour Down Under UCI cycling event in Adelaide on January 17, 2023.
The UCI has banned trans women from competing in female cycling events. (Getty Images)

“I had a great race and it would have been more boring if it had been a smaller field without such strong competitors in it,” she said.

Chalmers, who pursues cycling as a hobby while she gets her medical degree, noted that she, Johnson, and Williamson are good friends, and pointed out that there were lots of other events held on the day that weren’t won by trans competitors.

She is one of several cisgender athletes who has co-signed an open letter in defence of trans women’s right to participate.

The open letter reads: “We, the cis-women racers of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, stand steadfast in our support of our trans teammates and competitors. 

“We refuse to be falsely presented as victims in a manufactured controversy driven to further alienate and marginalise those most vulnerable within our community, in service of rampant and harmful anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. 

“We speak for ourselves: inclusion makes our sport and community stronger. Everyone is welcome here. Trans women are women.”

British Cycling women
Several cisgender cyclists have co-signed an open letter in defence of trans athlete’s right to participate. (Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Chalmers told the news station: “The cycling community is making a really strong statement that we care about inclusion and that our sport is better when we include everyone.”

This year, the world’s cycling governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) joined a number of national and international sports bodies in updating its policy to restrict trans athletes.

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Under the UCI’s new policy, all trans female athletes who started puberty before their transition are banned from competing in women’s races. 

USA Cycling was quick to follow suit and align with the UCI’s policy by segregating trans athletes who wish to compete in domestic races into two categories.

This influx of restrictions for trans athlees comes as 24 US states and counting adopt new laws and regulations to restrict trans youth from participating on gender-aligning sports teams.

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