Female competitive cyclers outraged as transgender women overtake sport: ‘This is not OK’
A female competitive cycler called the rising dominance of transgender women in the sport “discouraging and disheartening” after a transgender rider appeared to finish in first place at a New York City cycling event on Sunday.
The controversial win came days after a champion female cyclocross rider revealed she has retired from the sport after finishing in fourth place between two transgender females at the UCI Cyclocross National Championships in December.
Cycler Holly Lavesser told “Fox & Friends First” that the thought of leaving the sport she loves has also crossed her mind after being “forced to compete in unfair competitions.”
“I think it’s very disheartening,” Lavesser said Friday. “As a young woman, you look up to these role models and you think the sky is the limit. You believe that if you put in enough training, if you have the talent, the skill, that you could be the best. But when you’re forced to compete against males that have these physical advantages, it’s just not a reality anymore.”
Word of Tiffany Thomas’ win in NYC over the weekend caught wind on social media and drew outrage as the debate grows over transgender women competing against biological females in high school, college and professionally.
Lavesser said a top female cycler could never fairly compete against a top biological male, arguing if it was possible then women would compete alongside men in races like the Tour de France.
“It’s physical strength, having enough strength to turn the pedal that’s lung capacity, putting yourself out in an effort as hard as you possibly can. And it’s the training that goes into building a base over many, many years. You develop skill, and talent in your bike handling ability. Many of the males that enter competitions that require technical skills don’t have these skills built up from years of racing, but rather relied just on pure power and strength to go fast.”
Hannah Arensman, a 35-time winner on the national cyclocross circuit, revealed in an amicus brief filed to the Supreme Court last week that she retired from the sport after finishing in fourth place in between two transgender females.
“My sister and family sobbed as they watched a man finish in front of me, having witnessed several physical interactions with him throughout the race,” Arensman said. “I have felt deeply angered, disappointed, overlooked, and humiliated that the rule makers of women’s sports do not feel it is necessary to protect women’s sports to ensure fair competition for women anymore.”
Lavesser applauded athletes for going public with their grievances.
“As I’ve seen more and more males entering women’s races, I also have seen people beginning to speak up more and having a bit more courage to come forward with their story and say this is not OK. Women deserve equality, they deserve a protected space to in which to pursue sports.”
USA Cycling says it is “committed to ensuring that all USA Cycling members have equal access and opportunities to participate in cycling events in a manner that is fair to all competitors while preserving the integrity of the sport and respecting international competition regulations.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.