A biological male who identifies as a transgender woman won a women’s world championship cycling event Sunday in California.
Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, won the women’s 35-39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.
McKinnon, representing Canada, bested Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands and American cyclist Jennifer Wagner to take first place in that age range for the Union Cycliste Internationale event.
McKinnon celebrated the victory on Twitter, writing: “First transgender woman world champion … ever.” Later, the professor responded to criticism from “transphobic bigots” by tweeting:
Lots of transphobic bigots are responding to my world championship win saying that 'Next up, the paralympics.' Hey women, you realize that ALL of these people (many of them women) are comparing you to disabled people…right? Women = 'disabled men' they think. Wow. Offensive. pic.twitter.com/K5cbZgaOMc
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 14, 2018
Allowing biological males who identify as transgender women to compete in women’s athletic events has been a controversial subject, as critics argue that it puts female competitors at an inherent disadvantage.
McKinnon did not immediately return an email seeking comment for this report.
In January, USA Today quoted McKinnon as arguing against requiring biological males to suppress testosterone as a requirement for competing against women.
“We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,” McKinnon told the newspaper, adding:
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 compared restrictions on inclusion of biological males in women’s sports events to racial segregation.
“This is bigger than sports and it’s about human rights,” McKinnon told 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.”