Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon won the women’s world championship at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Canadian had earlier set a world record in qualifying for the 35-39 age category in the 200-meter sprint and later defended her title in the finals.
McKinnon, who teaches philosophy at the College of Charleston in Canada, had won the same event in 2018. McKinnon was born a biological male.
Mckinnon’s record performance however received criticism from our fellow competitors.
In an interview with Sky News, Victoria Hood, a former cycling champion and manager of a British all-female cycling team, raised serious objections against McKinnon “it is not complicated, the science is there and it says that it is unfair. The male body, which has been through male puberty, still retains its advantage, that doesn’t go away. I have sympathy with them. They have a right to do sport but not a right to go into any category they want.”
Another competitor Jennifer Wagner-Assali, who took bronze behind McKinnon last year but did not compete on Saturday, said “It was an unfair race, and I accepted that when I pinned on the number, and I tried to do my best to overcome the unfairness,” She added “I do feel that hard-fought freedoms for women’s sport are being eroded.
McKinnon hit back at her competitors saying that attempts to level the playing field for women’s sports by discriminating against transgender athletes was the equivalent of “denying their human rights.”
“All my medical records say female,” McKinnon said. “My doctor treats me as a female person, my racing license says female, but people who oppose my existence still want to think of me as male. … So, if we want to say, that I believe you’re a woman for all of society, except for this massive central part that is sport, then that’s not fair.”
McKinnon also released a press statement denouncing Hood for having “an irrational fear of trans women.”
McKinnon also took to Twitter to take on her critics
McKinnon also stated “I have yet to meet a real champion who has a problem with trans women. Real champions want stronger competition. If you win because bigotry got your competition banned… you’re a loser.”’
Transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004 but under the requirement they had undergone gender confirmation surgery and been on hormone therapy for two years.
Four years ago, the Olympic committee removed the need for surgery. But athletes are required to have a testosterone level below 10nmol/L for at least a year before their first competition.
Athletes who transition from female to male are also allowed to enter in male competition without restriction.
International Olympic Committee is yet to release the guidelines on the maximum level of testosterone that will be allowed in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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