Rachel McKinnon, a transgender cyclist who is biologically male, won a women’s world championship at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England, on Saturday.
A Canadian philosophy professor, McKinnon also set a women’s world record in the qualifying race, the BBC reported.
The 37-year-old took home gold in the women’s 35-39 age category in the sprint event, which the cyclist also won in 2018.
But McKinnon’s comments before the championships proved just as newsworthy as the race itself.
In an interview with the U.K.’s Sky News published Friday, McKinnon aired a series of grievances with people who oppose biological males competing in women’s sports.
First, the Canadian cyclist lashed out at people who refer to him as male.
“I’m legally and medically female, but the people who oppose my existence still want to think of me as male, they use the language that I’m a man,” McKinnon said.
He went on to dismiss the argument that biological men have an inherent advantage in many sports that rely on physical strength.
“There’s this stereotype that men are always stronger than women, and so if you think of trans women as men, then you think there’s an unfair advantage.”
“Fairness is the inclusion of trans women,” McKinnon went on.
McKinnon would not even concede that being a biological male contributed to his success.
“Do you think you’d have been a world champion cyclist if you hadn’t transitioned?” interviewer Martha Kelner asked.
“I don’t think I am a world champion because I am a trans woman. I put in the work,” he replied.
Later in the interview, McKinnon refused to concede that a male world champion, were he to transition, would beat the female world champion if the two faced off.
“If Chris Hoy was to transition — a master’s level — if he was to take testosterone suppressants for 12 months and then compete at a master’s level against Victoria Pendleton, he would beat Victoria Pendleton — or she would beat Victoria Pendleton,” she said.
“Would he? Would Chris? We don’t actually know that. Again, we’re making this massive assumption.”
“I think that’s a fair assumption to make, don’t you?” Kelner said.
She cited a study by the Swedish Karolinska Institute that discovered that despite transitioning and undergoing hormone treatment, biological male athletes retain their superior thigh strength, which is integral to success in cycling.
Yet McKinnon would only say that the natural advantage of being a biological male is only “possible.”
Many people on social media disagreed with his assessment.
There is a ton of evidence and McKinnon has misused, twisted or ignored every scrap of it. She is a terrible voice for trans rights. @BBCSport should be ashamed at putting this out unchecked.
— Chris (@xucachris) October 18, 2019
Apart from all the evidence saying there is a huge advantage? This male-born, male-bodied person is effectively stealing from females who work hard to compete fairly against their own sex. How demoralising for those women, but a victory for misogynists.
— Gender Heretic (@Sceptical_Woman) October 19, 2019
Absolute nonsense. Of course you have an advantage.
— Freddie (@FreddieNx) October 18, 2019
McKinnon also commented on his controversial win on Twitter, suggesting that biological females should wish for “stronger competition” from biological men such as himself.
I have yet to meet a real champion who has a problem with trans women.
Real champions want stronger competition.
If you win because bigotry got your competition banned… you’re a loser.
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 20, 2019
“If you win because bigotry got your competition banned … you’re a loser,” he said.
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