Rachel McKinnon representing Canada won the world title in the master 35-39 women’s sprint at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles on Sunday. McKinnon was born a biological male and now identifies as a transgender female. McKinnon celebrated the victory on Twitter writing, “First transgender woman world champion…ever.”

McKinnon is a professor and PhD in philosophy focusing on gender studies at College of Charleston in South Carolina. McKinnon beat Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands and American Jennifer Wagner to win the gold medal.

Before the final, McKinnon set a world record in the quarterfinals riding 11.92 sec over 200 m. Her record didn’t stand for long as it was beaten by 0.031 s 10 minutes later. McKinnon is a dedicated athlete saying she trains 15 to 20 hours a week often training twice a day.

In international competitions, it has been controversial allowing biological males who identify as transgender women to compete in women’s events. The International Olympic Committee rules that naturally occurring testosterone in transgender women given them an unfair advantage against women who were born female. In a piece in USA Today in January, McKinnon argued that suppressing testosterone in biological males who identify as trans women is a violation of their human rights.

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I broke the 200m WORLD RECORD this morning. It was my first indoor 200m and I have to admit that my 11.92 was significantly slower than I was doing outdoors in the summer. I still need time to get comfortable and save maximum energy in the windup. Unfortunately my record lasted 10min before I was beaten by 0.031s. I'm still super happy though. I'm safely through to the semi finals tomorrow afternoon. #rainbowfoxracing #rainbowfox #herthighness #quaddess #quadzilla #thefutureisfoxy #wtfsracebikes #sprinter #trackcycling #sportisahumanright #inclusivesport #lgbtq #lgbtqsport #transathlete #transrightsnow #transinclusivesport #girlslikeus #vegan #socialchange #socialjustice #transvisibilty #olympichopeful #plantbasedathlete #inspiration * * * °@fujibikes Bike °@fsa_road Chainrings, stem °@vision_tech_usa Crankset, chainrings, wheels °@lazersportusa Helmet, sunglasses °@vie13_kustom_apparel Speedsuit * Coaches: @empiricalcycling and @nathanrogut° ° @Regran_ed from @erosportspa – We had the incredible privilege of working with @rachelvmckinnon this summer, who set a World Record this morning for the women’s 35-39 flying 200m. It was broken again a few heats later, but the moment was sweet while it lasted! Congratulations, Rachel! #areyouero #worldrecord #erosportsbikefit #erosportspa #erosportspennsylvania #worldchampionships @outforthewin @outsportsinspire

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“We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,” McKinnon explained. “Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.”

McKinnon continued by explaining that it’s not possible to measure the unfair advantage transgender women have so that should be irrelevant to the conversation on whether they are allowed to compete.

“This is bigger than sports and it’s about human rights,” McKinnon said in USA Today. “By catering to cisgender people’s views, that furthers transgender people’s oppression. When it comes to extending rights to a minority population, why would we ask the majority? I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.”

The UCI reviewed it’s policy on transgender athletes last year when Canadian cyclist Kristen Worley won a case brought under human rights laws. Cycling Canada, the Ontario Cycling Association and the UCI all agreed to change their policies towards transgender female athletes.

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14 Comments

  • Jean Cross says:

    “I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.”

    They would have been pissed off if white men were allowed to compete against black women. Trying to equate the trans issue with race is insulting to the people who fought for and are still fighting for racial equality. This is not about human rights and equal access, if it was women wouldn’t be subjected to this unfair competition. Women have the right to fairness in sport. Female athletes train hard and dedicate their lives to their sport, just as men do.

    But now men and boys can swoop in and take the titles, take the scholarships and dominate. There has to be another way.

    It’s not just about testosterone. Look at the body mass, the muscles, the bone density. Notice how Rachael stands, trying to take an inch or two off the height, obviously aware how this looks.

  • Dex says:

    Comparing being transgender to being black epitomizes McKinnon’s white privileged ignorance and underscores the fact that people like that shouldn’t be lecturing others on the meaning of oppression.

  • Niels Ohlsen says:

    OK, so if I, am man, register and say I feel like a woman, I get to compete(r)?

    And all the women I thereby cheat will smile at me while doing so?

    Perhaps we need to revise women’s voting rights.

    Yaknow.. just for the sake of continuation of a meaningful civilization.

  • Sean B Kingley says:

    Nothing against trans-people but this is just ridiculous. Allowing this means allowing the same treatment in all sports. Which will eventually make all sports “male” dominated.There’s just no way that women athletes can compete with male biology. This would literally make actual women’s sports a thing of the past. If anything trans-sports should be its own thing.

    • Frygoat says:

      That sounds much more fair to me – “she” has definitely found loopholes trumping the human rights card. Just because the advantage cannot be quantified does not mean it is “irrelevant”!

  • tintookie says:

    So basically, this dude thinks men should be able to compete with women ‘on their say so’. That is literally what he is saying. I say I am a woman, so I am a woman. When are women athletes going to step up and say No to this bullshit. When it’s too late I bet…

  • Sarah says:

    What about the human rights of the women who were denied a level playing field?

  • Sergio Ivan Solorzano says:

    Open a trangender category.

  • jobbo says:

    It’s not a human right’s issue! Men have bigger organs, meaning they are faster and stronger. Which is fine, that’s why there are different catagories. Bet the other real competitors train more than 15 hours a weeks. Giving this ‘trans athlete’ the medal is in the exact same catagory as all the other drug cheats in cycling

  • Spinuzzi says:

    Your assertion that there are such things as “transgender female athletes” is absolutely false. The DNA in every cell of the body bears chromosomes that determine gender and control, among other things, hormones. Simply because an individual (either due to self deception or from deception of others for personal gain) says that they are female when they are in truth male does not create a new reality out of thin air. This catering to such ideas is madness, i.e. – INSANITY! What is next? How about a serial killer that is condemned to execution claiming that they are a rare protected species of bird, so they cannot be executed? Sound like an extreme analogy? It is not any more of a lie than the one you promote by calling this person (McKinnon) a woman. It is time for people to grow up and stop catering to such fallacious ideas!

    • jacjoh says:

      Perhaps the categories need to be changed so they are determined based on genetics; XX competes in one category and XY in another.

  • Alex says:

    So she was born a boy, but realised she has the mind of a girl/woman.
    Isn’t that exactly the issue feminists etc are debating all the time? Why is it we have to feel like either a man or a woman? Surely it’s perfectly fine to have a male body and express all other characteristics and traits of a female without actually having to pretend you have the body of a female.
    How do you know what a female feels like anyway? Ever consider they think and feel exactly the same with the only difference being the hormones, of which she has a set of male ones.
    Shouldn’t we be trying to put less importance on what gender you are and more on what the person can actually do. Most female athletes who climb to the top are somewhat interested in competing with men, to see how they fair. Why does this woman have such a problem competing with men too?

  • Markus Saufferer says:

    Males (no need to insert “biological”, there are no other kinds) have larger muscle mass, denser bones, different bone structure, less body fat, different body fat distribution, higher max heart rate, higher VO2max, higher hemoglobin levels, larger heart and lungs taller, greater amount of fast twitch muscle fibres (better at power bursts). on average, that women. Women are better at utilizing glycogen and post workout recovery due to the presence of estrogen. I’m no “world renown expert”, but I do have a degree in Kinesiology.

  • Paul says:

    This is very interesting and complex issue. No one should question a transgendered athlete’s right to participate in sport and no one should disrespect a transgendered athlete’s right to self identification. In a perfect world athletes would participate in categories based on equality and inclusion but is society or the UCI for that matter capable of such a nuanced approach? Also if you reverse this situation into a women wanting to participate in a men’s events, the masses are generally are in favour versus opposed.

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