Trigger warning: This post may go against popular opinion, but somebody has to say it. A while back I read an article on Cycling Tips about a male cyclist who had transitioned and was now competing in the elite women’s peloton. It sparked discussion of course and a lot of support. It’s a brave thing to do and going through that transition can’t be easy. Since that article Jillian has gone on to take a few wins.
Most people seemed supportive. Call me sceptical, but I wonder how many of the women competing against Jillian were secretly NOT okay with it. We should of course be aiming for a system that supports diversity and inclusion, but as much as modern culture would like to have you believe it, men and women are not physically equal. It’s genetics, deal with it.
Transgender professional cyclist, Jillian Bearden (CyclingTips).
Transgender professional cyclist, Rachel McKinnon.
The issue hit the spotlight again this week. At the Commonwealth Games, transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard was competing in the women’s weightlifting over 90kg division. Fine, right? Sure. I have nothing against the transgender community. Laurel transitioned at the age of 35 and beforehand spent many years competing at an international level as Gavin, a man. Let’s just lay that out: Assuming weight training since the age of 15, that’s a full 20 years of high-testosterone fuelled muscle building as a man. That’s some advantage.
Let’s face it. Men and women at the elite level of physically competitive sports are NOT equal. Our weightlifter example set Junior records AS A MAN before transitioning. In the 2017 Oceania Champs Laurel won gold with a total of 273kg in the women’s comp, second place Luniarra Sipaia lifted 250kg total (the equivalent male class winner lifted 341kg total).
Transgender athlete, Laurel Hubbard competing for New Zealand.
Call me transphobic or LBGTQI negative whatever buzzword you want to create this week, but I say if you’re competing at a professional level, competing for large cash prizes, for places on National teams, for gold medals; take a DNA test. If it comes back male, you compete with the men.
I believe there is a place for transgender athletes in professional sport, but a genetic male competing as a female may not be that place. Sure that may hurt some people’s feelings and it may not fit in with today’s political correct agendas – but life is tough and it’s time to toughen up. Equality only goes so far.
Three time TdF stage winner Robert Millar transitioned after retirement.
End Note: At the end of the day it became a moot point at the Commonwealth Games, as Laurel had to retire from the competition due to injury. Samoa’s Feagaiga Stowers went on to win Gold.