At a time when equity issues are front and center in the public square, many argue that biological male trans athletes should not be allowed to compete against biological women. Many argue that natural physical differences give biological males an advantage in sports where muscle, lung capacity or size correlates to success in the sport.
Athletes, parents and conservatives expressed outrage last year when trans athlete Lia Thomas took first place at the NCAA women’s swimming championship and Laurel Hubbard won the gold medal in the Pacific Games.
The fairness of biological men competing in women’s sports is in the spotlight again as Tiffany Thomas won a cycling event in New York City last Sunday. A towering Thomas was pictured on the winner’s stand, flanked by two much smaller female athletes, who took second and third place in the criterium race.
Thomas has reportedly finished first place 16 times in women’s races. The cyclist races for team LA Sweat and specializes in criterium, sprint-focused races.
The USA Cycling federation recognizes the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules that allow transgender athletes to compete in elite-level competition.
UCI rules read:
“Those who transition from female to male (FTM) are eligible to compete in the male category upon providing a written and signed declaration acceptable to the UCI Medical Manager. It is the responsibility of athletes to be aware of current WADA/USADA policies and to file for appropriate therapeutic use exemptions.”
UCI guidelines stipulate: “Those who transition from male to female (MTF) are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
- “The athlete has declared that their gender identity is female.”
- “The athlete must demonstrate that their total testosterone level in serum has been below 2.5 nmol/L for a period of at least 24 months.”
- “The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 2.5 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.”
Though many argue the new rules are unfair, USA Cycling administrators maintain 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.”
Thomas’ recent win was met with harsh criticism across social media channels. One Twitter user said Thomas stole the race. Another said that transgender athlete infringement on women’s sports was “becoming the norm.”
Another said Thomas is making a “mockery of women’s sports.”
Another asked, “Why are we putting up with these delusional idiots?”
A push for transgender athletes to form separate leagues is growing as is opposition to biological males competing in women’s sports.
LATE BREAKING UPDATE: World Athletics President Lord Coe announced Thursday afternoon that “no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions [as of] 31 March.”
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