Transgender cyclist wins gold, sets record at World Championships
The latest transgender athlete to make headlines is cyclist Rachel McKinnon, who picked up a gold medal Saturday and set a women’s world record in the process at the 2019 Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England.
A philosophy professor at the College of Charleston, McKinnon, 37, was defending her title — she won last year’s gold in the women’s 35-39 sprint category. Born a biological male, McKinnon also set a world record with a time of 12.202 in the qualifying round. She took the gold this year over American Dawn Orwick. Denmark’s Kirsten Herup Sovang took home the bronze.
— British Cycle Sport (@VeloUK) October 19, 2019
Transgender athletes have taken heat from some people who say they have an unfair advantage over sis women. This time, the criticism came from former cycling champ Victoria Hood who told Sky News that “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 (trans athletes). They have a right to do sport but not a right to go into any category they want.”
McKinnon quickly responded. Just after claiming victory, she took to Twitter.
Many people claim to support trans women
But often they only support us until our lives impact them in any meaningful way
In my case, people literally say they support trans women…but not in sport
There can be no 'but'
We are either full and equal women, or not
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 20, 2019
In an interview before the race, the Canadian cyclist told Sky News it actually would be unfair to not let her race with women.
“We care about sport. It’s central to society,” McKinnon told Sky News in a recent interview. “So, if you wanna say, ‘Well, I believe you’re a woman for all of society except this massive central part that is sport, then that’s not fair. So fairness is the inclusion of trans women.”
McKinnon said she struggles just as much as any athlete.
“I don’t think I am a world champion because I’m a trans woman,” McKinnon told Sky News. “I put in the work. And, again, we have to remember I lose most of my races. I’ve lost against the specific sis women complaining about me being unfair.”
“I’ve thought about giving up about half a dozen times a year at least,” she told Sky News. “It’s so stressful to even show up for me given the sort of attention I get.”
Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Chris at 412-320-7898, [email protected] or via Twitter .