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Transgender Man Who Says He's a Woman Wins Women's World Championship

10-16-2018

A biological man who identifies as a female won a women's world championship cycling event in California, sparking debate over how transgender athletes should be judged in sporting events.

Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, took home the gold medal in the women's 35-39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.

"First transgender woman world champion...ever," McKinnon posted on social media soon after the race.

The professor, who represented Canada, beat out second and third-place finishers, Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands and American cyclist Jennifer Wagner.

While some applaud McKinnon's success, not everyone is happy. Some argue it's unfair for a man to be allowed to compete in a women's sporting event because male bodies are fundamentally different than female bodies.

Third-place winner Wagner was one of the many people who voiced their outrage on Twitter.

"I was the 3rd place rider. It's definitely NOT fair," she said in response to a tweet by controversial commentator Katie Hopkins.

Meanwhile, others came to McKinnon's defense, calling the win a major accomplishment for transgender athletes.

The race's second-place winner applauded McKinnon, and urged athletes who don't think it's fair to compete against the opposite sex to either deal with it, or not compete at all.

"I totally disagree. No one is a transgender to steal anyone's medal. We had an honest race under UCI rules. If you compete you accept the rules, otherwise, don't compete. I can only imagine what she had to go through in her life to be where she is now, how hard it is to fit in,” Carolien Van Herrikhuy tweeted.

McKinnon believes he had no biological advantage over his female competitors. He said he had to suppress his testosterone levels to "unhealthily low" levels to compete.

"3rd place (Jennifer Wagner) claims it's unfair for me to compete. At Masters Worlds, she beat me in the 500m TT. She beat me in 6 of 7 races at the 2017 Intelligentsia Cup. In 2016 she beat me in all 3 Speed Week crits. She's won 11 of our 13 races…and it's unfair? Excuse me?" McKinnon said.

"This is what the double-bind for trans women athletes looks like: when we win, it's because we're transgender and it's unfair; when we lose, no one notices (and it's because we're just not that good anyway). Even when it's the SAME racer. That's what transphobia looks like," the professor said.

MORE: 'Against the Girls He Easily Came in First': Trans Sprinter Wins Girls Track Meet

 

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