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Trans woman makes history with world title in cycling – then transphobes began hurling abuse

Trans woman makes history with world title in cycling – then transphobes began hurling abuse

Rachel McKinnon won her first cycling world title

Rachel McKinnon, a transgender woman from South Carolina made history when she won the world title at the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles on Sunday (14 October).

An assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, McKinnon came in first place in the 35-39 age bracket.

She posted a photo of her win on Twitter with the caption: ‘First transgender woman world champion…ever.’

Her win is both historic and a triumph for trans athletes around the world.

Unfortunately, many people began responding to McKinnon’s celebratory tweet with transphobia and criticism.

One user wrote: ‘Totally unfair. If I was a female athlete I would quit.’

Several other people claimed it was unfair and an ‘uneven playing field’.

One user wrote they have ‘no problem with the transgender bit’, but that McKinnon should give up her right to win.

Transphobic tweet
This is transphobic | Photo: Twitter @ChesterDeZeeuw

Many users took similar stances, claiming having no problem with McKinnon as a transgender woman. In fact, not treating or seeing McKinnon as a woman, or acknowledging her reality as a woman, is inherently transphobic.

Sparking a debate

McKinnon’s win, rather than being seen for the success that it is, instead has sparked a debate within the sporting community about trans athletes.

Several people came to McKinnon’s defense, including fellow athlete Amanda Batty. She first called racing alongside trans women an ‘honor’.

Tweets from Amanda Batty
Tweets from Amanda Batty | Photo: Twitter @theamandabatty

She then took offense to the idea that being transgender or intersex means an athlete is cheating, before concluding that all athletes have their own advantages.

Tweets from Amanda Batty
More tweets | Photo: Twitter @theamandabatty

Other people took issue with the fact that viewers only seem to care about women’s sports when they can criticize something about them.

Tweet about sports
Women’s sports are legit sports too | Photo: Twitter @CamilleRaneem

One person, Kirsti Miller, wrote an extensive thread about the health of female athletes, including trans women, which McKinnon applauded her for.

Other racers — namely, the second and third-place finalists — also voiced their opinions.

Carolien van Herrikhuyzen, who came in second, defended McKinnon. She shot back at someone who claimed McKinnon ‘stole’ her place.

Carolien tweet
Cyclist Herrikhuyzen defending McKinnon | Photo: Twitter @CforCycling

The third-place finisher, Jennifer Wagner, however, was on the side of those calling the race unfair.

She replied to Herrikhuyzen’s tweet, writing that the rules are not ‘fair or right’.

McKinnon called her out, giving a brief history of past races when they’ve competed against one another.

Rachel McKinnon on Twitter
McKinnon clapping back | photo: Twitter @rachelvmckinnon

The simple fact of the matter, that seems to always bear repeating, is that trans women are real women.

GSN reached out to McKinnon for further comment on her historic win.

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