Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon won a gold medal and set a women’s world record in qualifying at the 2019 Masters Track Cycling World Championships on Saturday in Manchester, England.
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McKinnon, a professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, won the gold medal in the women’s 35-39 sprint category. The BBC reported that McKinnon, a biological male, also set a women’s world record during the qualifying round. She represented Canada in the event.
In an interview about her win, McKinnon told Sky News that even though she has an apparent advantage over some of the other female competitors, it would be unfair to exclude her from competing.
“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 insisted.
She also pointed out that despite her advantage, she does lose at times.
“I’ve thought about giving up about half a dozen times a year at least,” she admitted. “It’s so stressful to even show up for me given the sort of attention I get.”
McKinnon continued, “Every athlete has physical advantages and we’re all trying to exploit them. So to single out a trans woman, when I lose most of my races, is a little unfair.”
This isn’t the first time she complained about the possibility of exclusion.
In March, McKinnon said the exclusion of transgender women from women’s sports was comparable to excluding black women from women’s sports.
In addition to the gold medal, McKinnon took the silver she won in the earlier 500m time trial.
Trans cyclist defends her right to race in women’s competitions
Victoria Hood, a former British Masters champion, told the BBC that some of her fellow riders “sacrificed” the opportunity to participate in the World Championships because they didn’t want to compete against McKinnon.
“The science is there,” Hood said. “The science is clear — it tells us that trans women have an advantage. … The world record has just been beaten today by somebody born male, who now identifies as female, and the gap between them and the next born female competitor was quite a lot.
“It is a human right to participate in sport. I don’t think it’s a human right to identify into whichever category you choose,” she concluded.
McKinnon fired back at Hood’s proclamation in a lengthy statement, which she shared across social media.
A portion of her scathing response read, “Ms. Hood has expressed an irrational fear of trans women. An irrational fear of trans women is the dictionary definition of transphobia. Transphobia has no place in sport.”